Mums-to-be weigh too much

Almost half of all expectant mothers in Ireland gain too much weight during the pregnancy.

According to a new study published in the journal Obesity, 43% of women exceed medical guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy.

The study warned excessive weight gain during pregnancy had significant implications for infant growth and obesity, with potential implications for later adult health.

According to the findings, 61% of overweight women, 54% of obese women and 21% of normal weight women exceeded the guidelines on weight gain during their pregnancy.

The study identified 65% of women who exceeded the guidelines during their first pregnancy who also exceeded the guidelines in their next pregnancy.

Conversely, only 25% of those who did not exceed the guidelines in their first pregnancy went on to exceed the guidelines in their next pregnancy.

Researchers from UCD and the National Maternity Hospital surveyed 621 mother and infant pairs.

Commenting on the findings, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UCD and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street Fiona McAuliffe said it was clear women who were overweight before their pregnancy were more likely to gain excessive weight during their pregnancy.

“The association between excessive weight gain and adverse outcome necessitates clear guidance for all pregnant women on optimal gestational weight gain, irrespective of pre-pregnancy weight assessment [BMI],” she said.

Co-author on the study, Dr Jennifer Walsh said women who exceeded the US Institute of Medicine guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy gave birth to “heavier infants with higher levels of body fat, that were three times more likely to be delivered by caesarean section”.

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