Maternal Weight Gain During Pregnancy Affects the Child’s Risk of Becoming Obese

download (64)Scientists at Harvard Medical School and several other research institutions in Boston, United States and Canada, found too much weight gain during the first three months of pregnancy resulted in excess weight gain in children.

In July of 2016 the medical journal, Obesity reported on 979 mother and child pairs who took part in the study. The young children whose mother had gained excess amounts of weight during the first and second three months of their pregnancy, were heavy by mid-childhood. From this result, the researchers concluded there was a need to address excess weight gain early in the mother’s pregnancy to avoid excessive weight gain in their children’s early years.

Overweight and obese children are at high risk for…

  • developing Type 2 diabetes,
  • high blood fat levels,
  • high blood pressure, and
  • heart disease.

According to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, United States, obesity and Type 2 diabetes in children can lead to their heart growing out-of-shape.

In 2012 the journal American Family Physician reported that obese boys have a 30 percent risk of high blood pressure or borderline high blood pressure. The risk for girls is 23 to 30 percent. High blood pressure readings or hypertension, can lead to overgrowth of the heart and diseased blood vessels.

Another study reported on in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation in 2015 indicated overgrowth of the heart in children as young as 8 years. Heart specialists compared images of the heart in…

  • 20 obese, and
  • 20 average weight

girls aged 8 to 16. Generally, obese children have heavier and thicker-walled left ventricles.

Left ventricles pump blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When the heart walls become too thick, not enough blood can flow into and out of them. Forty percent of the obese children in the above study had overgrowth throughout their heart, making it difficult for their heart to take in and pump blood to their lungs and the rest of their body.

Normally weight gain is slow the first three months of pregnancy or trimester, picks up during the second trimester, and is fastest in the third trimester. The National Institute of Health recommends taking in…

  • 1800 calories per day in the first trimester,
  • 2200 calories per day in the second, and
  • 2400 calories per day in the last trimester.

This amount of calories is based on the needs of healthy, normal-weight women and will vary for those who are either underweight, overweight, or obese. Pregnant mothers need to consult with their obstetrician or midwife for individual dietary and weight gain goals.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.