It's hardly breaking ground to point out the dangers in observing the postpartum weight-loss patterns of celebrities and expecting the same results from ourselves. The lives of us real-world moms—which involve childcare, sleeplessness, work, and other nonstop responsibilities—don't support the kind of post-baby fitness habits of those women whose job depends on flaunting their bodies in the public eye, and who have limitless resources to support their weight-loss goals.
Specifically, the findings of the new University of Chicago study indicate that a full three quarters of all women weighed more a year after giving birth than they did prior to their pregnancies—and many of those moms actually became obese. Among the category of women who were of normal weight before giving birth, a third were overweight or obese a year later.
However, the study does have its handicaps: For one thing, the women were in the low-income category, meaning their access to things like gyms may have been more limited than they are for more affluent women. Beyond that, the average body mass index of the nearly 800 women in the study was in the overweight category. For women who start off their pregnancies overweight, it may be even harder for them to lose afterward. (But let's face it: It's not easy for any of us!)
Of course, new moms have so much to worry—and feel guilt—about. Do we really need a new study to pile on the concern? Well, it's not just about vanity. Carrying extra weight adds to long-term health risks—and short-term ones, too, during the timeframe of pregnancy. Overall, the study points to the fact that pregnancy itself can be a risk factor for obesity, and as we already know, that can be a dangerous thing.
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