Women who are pregnant and gain too much weight may be raising their child's risk of being overweight later in life, say researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.
In this new study involving more than 10,000 mothers and their children, researchers tracked pre-pregnancy weight, the weight of the baby at the time of delivery, and the weight of the child at age of seven.
Children whose mothers gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy were 48 percent more likely than other children to be overweight by age seven.
The women's pre-pregnancy weight affected their children's risk of being overweight, regardless of how much the women gained during pregnancy.
When compared to children of mothers who were slim prior to pregnancy, seven year-olds born to obese women were more likely to be overweight - even if their mothers gained the recommended amount of pregnancy weight.
Gaining too much - or too little - weight during pregnancy can be harmful to you and your baby. Health Canada makes pregnancy weight gain recommendations based on the woman's pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI).
Women with a pre-pregnancy BMI less than 20 should aim to gain 28 to 40 pounds; those with a pre-pregnancy BMI between 20 and 27 should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pre-pregancy.
Women with a BMI over 27 prior to pregnancy are recommended to gain of 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.
Many recent studies have shown the ill effects of excess weight gain during pregnancy, for the child as well as the mother.
For more information on weight management in preparation for, or during pregnancy, check out Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to A Healthy Pregnancy.
This study was published in the June 2008 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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