It’s hard to strike a balance with weight gain during pregnancy.
For some women, pregnancy is like unleashing ravenous animal that can’t help but eat everything in the cupboards (and sometimes in bizarre and unusual combinations, like banana bbq ribs). For other women, it’s a struggle to eat at the best of times, and combining that with the nausea of morning sickness just makes the job of eating that much harder.
But weight gain during pregnancy is hugely important. There’s a reason why the doctor weighs you every time you step into their office for your prenatal checkups. A mother’s weight says a lot about how the pregnancy is progressing.
It’s been well established that there’s a correlation between weight gain during pregnancy and the size of the baby. Gain a little weight and the baby is more likely to be born underweight themselves and possibly even early. Gain too much, and the baby is likely to be born huge which will cause problems both during delivery and later for the child themselves.
However, new studies are showing that when you gain the weight matters just as much as how much weight you gained. A brand new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that among 1000 Chinese women, their weight from before the pregnancy and during the first half of it had a much larger effect on the baby’s weight.
The study, posted in the February edition of JAMA Pediatrics, showed that the weight gained in the first 18 weeks was what mattered most, and weight gained afterward didn’t affect the baby.
It should be noted that for both studies, the Chinese and Vietnamese women were usually pretty lean, so these results don’t really confirm what happens when a mother started the pregnancy overweight.
Still, it’s good to know that you really need to be careful in the first half of a pregnancy. For the second half, pig out as much or as little as you like.