Eating for two in pregnancy raises obesity risk

Researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found that pregnant women who eat more are putting themselves at risk of long-term obesity and health problems such as high blood pressure, later in life.

Study leader Dr Abigail Fraser said women should avoid over-eating, particularly in the first six months when extra weight was laid down as fat before the baby really needed it for growth. “Our findings suggest that regular monitoring of weight in pregnancy may need to be reconsidered because it provides a window of opportunity to prevent health problems later in life.

“The most important take-home message for women is to attain a healthy weight before conceiving. You don’t need to eat for two in pregnancy because this will cause you problems in later life, and is also linked to a higher risk of your baby becoming obese in childhood,” Dr Fraser said.

The findings by Bristol University add to mounting evidence about the harmful effects of being overweight during pregnancy; although weight gain during pregnancy is natural as the baby develops, the study suggests that being fat puts baby and mother at risk, the Daily Mail reported.  

According to the UK’s National Health Service, during the first six months of pregnancy, a woman’s energy intake of 1940 calories a day doesn’t change so no extra food is needed. In the latter three months, the expectant mother needs only an additional 200 calories a day, equivalent to a ready- made fruit salad and yoghurt, or a small bowl of sugar-free muesli with grated apple.

The study found that those who gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy were three times as likely to be overweight, obese or become “apple-shaped” 16 years later.

But women who began pregnancy at a healthy weight and who gained only a little weight were much less likely to go on to become fat and develop related health problems.

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