Extra Chubby Bundle of Joy

Pregnant women who gain too many pounds have overweight babies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Gaining weight during pregnancy is essential and inevitable, but researchers found that gaining too much weight can lead to an overweight baby.

Researchers say that regardless of pre-pregnancy weight, women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight have a higher chance of having a baby with more fat.

The recommended weight for women who are at normal weight is 25 to 35 pounds, for overweight women - 15 to 25 pounds and obese women 11 to 20 pounds.

"Healthy weight gain during pregnancy means healthy weight for baby."

Small, chubby babies are cute, but overweight babies are at greater risk for becoming overweight kids. And childhood obesity is at epidemic levels.

Jami Josefson, M.D., from the Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital and assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study with 56 mothers. Of these, 31 had gained the recommended amount of pregnancy weight, while 25 participants gained more.

Researchers measured length, weight and fat. They used a system that was more accurate and safe, the Pea Pod system, to measure the newborn baby’s fat.

Researchers found that women who were obese before becoming pregnant were 70 percent more likely to exceed the recommendations for ideal pregnancy weight gain. Healthy weight women were 31 percent more likely to exceed the recommendations for mothers-to-be.

In both cases, women who put on more than the recommended weight gave birth to more overweight babies compared to others.

The overweight babies had 490 grams of fat compared to 390 grams of fat in healthy babies. Even when the baby was born with normal weight, the overall amount of fat was still more if the mother gained too much weight during pregnancy.

According to Josefson, additional research needs to be done to determine if the amount of fat during infancy is linked to fat in childhood.

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Review Date: 
June 8, 2011
Last Updated:
June 11, 2011