Mother’s weight could determine child’s

In Health & Lifestyles on October 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

By: Lauren Harper

New studies have found a link between a baby's weight and the weight that the mother gains during her pregnancy. Photo courtesy of Google images

Pregnancy is the one time that many women feel okay with gaining large amounts of weight. While it is necessary for females to gain weight during their pregnancy in order to keep themselves and their baby healthy, large amounts of weight gain could actually hinder their babies more than help them. New information on a link between maternal and child weight has been discovered that will hopefully give new moms a heads-up on how to be when they are expecting.

Studies have found that if the mother is obese before or during her first trimester of pregnancy, the chances of her child being obese in life more than doubles, and the chance of the child being overweight or obese by age four is 1.4 times more likely. Along with this, it has been found that women who gain more than fifty pounds during pregnancy can potentially add up to 150 more grams to their child’s initial birth weight. This amount of weight may not seem very significant, but any additional weight to a child could hinder them in some aspect.

            When children have heavier birth weights, this also causes them to have a higher risk of being overweight as they grow older. But even before they are born, babies’ weights can be affected. When the mother takes in excess calories while pregnant, an overgrowth of fetal tissues, hormonal imbalances, and a change in the child’s metabolism can all take place. According to David Ludwig, associate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston, parts of the brain that control appetite and metabolism can be affected during pregnancy if the mother gains or has excess weight. This can ultimately affect a child later in life, due to the child having more of a tendency to overeat and possibly become overweight.

            The weight of the average woman in the United States has also been growing throughout the last few years. When these women get pregnant and have children, they are gaining more and more weight and, as a result, many babies are born overweight. “If we don’t stop the vicious cycle at some point, we’ll just keep going and going,” assistant professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at George Mason University, Panagiota Kitsanas, stated. When female babies are born with a higher chance of being obese, the cycle continues when they get pregnant and their daughters can become overweight as well. This is why many feel that it is necessary for pregnant women and mommies-to-be to become healthy not just for themselves, but for their children. Once their children are born, it is also usually the mother that is controlling what their children are eating. When the mother chooses healthy fruits, vegetables, and plenty of protein for her child, she is setting up a better and healthier life for her son or daughter.

            The fact that a woman can potentially set up a better life for her child before they are even conceived is something that many people don’t know, but is pertinent information for mothers everywhere. Many moms spend countless hours preparing their baby’s room, buying them clothes, and choosing a name, but one thing that is even more important that they can help with is their health. “Almost every mother instinctively wants to give their children a healthy start in life,” Ludwig stated, so hopefully more mommies will take the initiative early-on and jumpstart their child’s life healthy with actions they responsibly take themselves.


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