You probably already know that research says that if you gorge yourself on junk food while you're pregnant, your child has a bigger chance of getting addicted to junk food, and to grow up to be obese. But now a new study in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which observed 4,000 pregnant women and their children, says that eating too little while pregnant can have the same effect. So as much as it is important to curb your crazy pregnancy cravings (but do let yourself indulge in some!), you don't want to overdo it with a restrictive diet while you're pregnant either.
Not only do you need to make sure you're getting all of the nutrients you need to have the energy to carry your baby, but he or she needs a healthy diet in utero as well. Otherwise, there could be long-lasting consequences to the child's metabolism, appetite control, and fat storage. So you could be contributing to childhood obesity before you even have your baby!
According to the study, children of women who were a healthy weight before getting pregnant ended up being affected the most by what their moms ate while pregnant. A slim woman who ate too much in pregnancy was 80 percent more likely to have a heavy child than one who ate the right amount. That may not surprise you. But a woman who was a healthy weight before pregnancy, who ate too little, was still 63 percent more likely to have an overweight or obese child. Say what? It seems virtually impossible to know how much to eat!
Talk to your doctor about what is the right amount of weight gain for you, as each woman is different, but here are some general guidelines. If you were a normal weight before pregnancy, a 25-35 pound weight gain is best. If you were underweight, you should gain 28-40 pounds. If you were overweight, you should only gain 15-25 pounds. If you were obese, 15 pounds is sufficient, and if you are carrying twins, aim to gain 35-45 pounds.
Pregnancy weight gain: What's normal, what's not?TELL US: How much weight did you gain while pregnant?
Image of child on scale courtesy of Shutterstock.