‘Eating for two’ may have consequences for mom and baby

June 9th, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 9 (IANS) Pregnant women who consume extra calories and gain too much weight may face complications at birth such as pre-eclampsia (hypertension), or may require a C-section. Moreover, both mother and child face a higher risk of being obese later in life.
Alison Stuebe, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of North Carolina examined data for more than 1,300 women and found that those who consumed extra calories, as well as fried foods and dairy products, were more likely to gain more than is recommended during pregnancy. Thirty five pounds or approximately fifteen kilograms is the recommended weight gain for a woman with a normal body mass index, or BMI.

Stuebe found that eating an extra 500 calories a day increased the odds of gaining too much by ten percent.

“If you take care of yourself, it’s good for you and for your baby” said Stuebe.

Healthy eating habits reduced a mother’s chance of gaining too much weight. Women with vegetarian diets in early pregnancy were half as likely to gain an unhealthy amount of weight.

Those who exercised for thirty minutes vigorously everyday reduced their risk by 20 percent. Furthermore, consuming more monosaturated fat, found in olive oil and nuts was linked with a lower risk of excessive weight gain.

Expecting mothers could use this study as a guideline for what they should follow.

They should avoid fried foods and high-calories snacks. Eating fried food is particularly unhealthy. It was a “huge predictor of excessive weight gain” said Stuebe.

Those who ate one serving of fried food a day were four-times as likely to gain too much weight.

The results were published in the online version of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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