Most pregnant women realize that “eating for two” doesn’t mean eating twice as much. You know full well that your baby doesn’t need an extra full adult meal every time you eat. That said, some pregnant women do use their pregnancy to excuse a bit of overeating from time to time – if only in their own minds. Most of the time this doesn’t result in excessiveness or significant weight gain, but in some cases it does.
The fact of the matter is, however, that some recent research is suggesting that excessive weight gain during pregnancy can not only cause immediate issues with your health and with the labor and delivery process, but it can put you at risk for lifelong obesity.
A recent study is showing that significant weight gain during pregnancy causes significant health risks down the road. Women in the study who gained more weight than what is recommended were as much as three times as likely to be overweight or obese later in life. It also raises the risk that their body shape will change, becoming more “apple shaped” as they age.
Most experts recommend that the pregnant woman should only take in about an extra 300 calories a day during pregnancy. The National Health Service in the UK actually recommends that a pregnant woman not increase her caloric intake at all during the first six months, and then should only boost her intake by about 200 calories a day during the remainder of pregnancy.
So, what kinds of other problems can gaining too much weight during pregnancy cause? Here’s a quick list:
- Higher risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Higher risk of developing diabetes after pregnancy
- Higher risk of preeclampsia
- Higher risk that your baby will become diabetic
- Higher risk that your baby will be obese
- Higher risk of complications during delivery
- Higher risk of infection
- Higher likelihood that you will need a cesarean section
Those are just a handful of possibilities. So, the next time you sit down to “eat for two,” remember that it really only means eating smarter and getting the right nutrients, not doubling up on chocolate cake.