Gaining too much weight during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk that your child will be obese as a preschooler, new evidence shows. Gaining too little weight may have the same effect.
Institute of Medicine guidelines for pregnancy weight gain range from 25 to 40 pounds for normal-weight or underweight women, 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women and 11 to 20 pounds for obese women.
Researchers followed 4,145 women from before they became pregnant until their children were 2 to 5 years old. The study appears online in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Over all, compared with children of mothers who met the guidelines, children of mothers who gained too much had a 46 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese. The researchers adjusted for mothers’ age, race, diet, education, B.M.I. before becoming pregnant, and other characteristics.
The effect was even more marked for women who were not overweight: in that group, gaining more than the guidelines indicate increased the risk of having an obese child by 79 percent, and gaining less than the recommended amount increased it by 63 percent.
“Currently, more than half of women gain too much during pregnancy,” said the senior author, Monique M. Hedderson, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “Only 10 percent of women are gaining too little. We definitely don’t want the headline to be ‘pregnant women need to gain more weight.’”
New York Times