Pregnancy Weight Gain Can Stick Around 7 Years

Weight gain during pregnancy can not only increase your and your baby's risk for diabetes, but it may also be a lasting problem to deal with years down the road, according to new research.

In the first study of its kind, researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health studied the link between gestational weight gain and long-term weight retention.

The team found that moms who were a normal weight - or slightly overweight - before pregnancy, and gained weight during the pregnancy, had greater body fat seven years after giving birth.

"The findings suggest that excessive gestational weight gain has long-term consequences for women who are normal weight or a little overweight before pregnancy," a news release on the study stated.

Most women gain more than recommended

The Institute of Medicine recommends that women who are normal weight before pregnancy should gain 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women should gain 28-40 pounds, while overweight to obese women should gain between 11 and 20 pounds.

Surprisingly, the study found that women with a lower pre-pregnancy BMI - moms who were underweight, normal weight, and slighly overweight - were most affected by the lasting pregnancy weight gain.

"The findings...suggest that normal and modestly overweight women may be more physiologically sensitive to effects of high gestational weight gain and, therefore, need to be further supported to gain weight appropriately during pregnancy," said Dr. Elizabeth Widen, from the New York Obesity Research Center.

Despite pregnancy weight gain recommendations, a significant amount of U.S. women - approximately 47 percent - gain more than is healthy, the study reported.

Results of the research are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Image courtesy of hin255/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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