Women, and people generally, but specifically women can be quite sensitive about issues of weight gain and body image. Perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that chances are high that if and when women have children, their bodies will be changed irrevocably. Some women take pregnancy in stride and keep right on going; others aren’t so lucky. So it should surprise no one that weight problems associated with the post pregnancy setting actually start well before the baby’s born. Pregnant women need to be cautious of their own body image even before the pregnancy is initiated as this will be directly reflected in your unborn child’s early development. Like it or lump it; the baby is yours. So rather than take the victim role in all of this and ‘woe-is-me’ about how you don’t know how you’re going to deal with being pregnant, get proactive! Get yourself and your body in check and you’ll be rolling out the cutest and most fit kids anywhere on the block!
Pregnancy & Overeating: Heavier Moms Make Heavier Babies: This should surprise no one; but according to a study published just this month and reported by MSNBC.com (1), “women who gain too much weight during pregnancy have big babies, putting their children at risk of becoming heavy later on.” The study was paid for by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and was run from 1989 through 2003 following more than half a million women in New Jersey and Michigan and their 1.1 million infants. So this was not a small exercise. “…scientists found that women who gained more than 53 pounds during their pregnancy made babies who were about 150 grams heavier at birth.” Those .3 pounds can be a big weight on a newborn child. I don’t know how much more incentive a prospective mother would need to want to be a better carrier of new life! Even if mom’s a little heavy, this is the perfect chance to lose some weight and tone up before you move into the later stages of pregnancy. Eat better, live better, feel better.
Pregnancy & Overeating: The Facts: Taken on the surface, the odds look fairly bleak. In the United States “more than a third of women normal weight and more than half of overweight and obese women gain more weight than their doctors recommend.” This, in the fast-food nation we all live in, is pretty bleak. These facts say ‘more than their doctors recommend;’ that means that the doctors were probably already tipping the scales too far in their favor. Many women take the opportunity when pregnant to take their lives back and that’s a good thing; however when you’ve got the odds stacked so high against you doing what you think you’d like to do, this just means you need to go in with a solidified plan.
Pregnancy & Overeating: What About Baby: According to Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life program at Children’s Hospital in Boston, “heavier babies have a significantly higher risk of staying heavy throughout their lives.” Also found to be true from this study of women and the effects of overeating during pregnancy was this: “…large babies are also more likely to get stuck in the birth canal or need a cesarean section.”
Pregnancy & Overeating: What About Mom: Not to get lost on the children’s cause but even mom’s have complications when they go into a pregnancy at too high a weight and they gain too much weight throughout the pregnancy. According to the MSNBC report, “Previous studies have shown pregnant women who pack on the pounds suffer from complications like diabetes and high blood pressure.” Not only have you stacked the deck against junior, but you’ve also further complicated the rest of your new life as mother by putting on too much weight during pregnancy.
Pregnancy & Overeating: What Can You Do: Fortunately for you, even if you’re overweight and have found that you are recently pregnant, it’s never too late to change your habits. If you’re not pregnant yet and are considering it, you should sit down with a doctor and maybe even a specialist like a nutritionist to plot out your successful birthing enterprise. We should all be free to utilize all the tools Mother Nature gave us in whatever way we see fit. However if you are going to give birth, take a moment, figure your risks, speak to a doctor, and get yourself in shape. One of the biggest problems many women face during pregnancy and before they come to term is overeating; don’t just willfully become part of another ugly and sadly preventable statistic.