You gotta love those “new studies.” Sometimes they reveal something shockingly poignant, sometimes they confirm what we already now, and sometimes they act as a good reminder – a wake up call – to us all. And while many may mock these “new studies,” I have to argue that they – sometimes – really do have their place, especially when they have to do with the welfare of our children.
The results may be hard for us to hear, to absorb, and to own, but these studies often give us the scientific equivalent of “put down the goddamn Twinkie,” as is the message that is sent in the newest study saying that gaining a whole lot of weight while pregnant may not be a good idea.
Yes, this is one of those, “no kidding,” type of studies, and one that has been done before. But it’s a message that women, who happen to be pregnant and stuffing their growing belly with more calories than their bodies require, could bear hearing again. It’s not just that the extra pounds will take a toll on your body – from back pains to achy legs – but it increases the odds that your child will have to struggle with obesity.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about the new study saying that, “children born to women who gained excessive amounts of weight — 40 pounds or more – during pregnancy had an 8 percent increased risk of obesity compared to children born to women who gained the least amount of weight.”
“That’s not a huge effect on an individual level but on a population basis, it could be an important contributor” to the overall childhood obesity epidemic, Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital said. Past studies looked at babies across the board, but this new study used, “a new “within family” design,” which studies siblings. This way their results weren’t as random.
So how much weight is a woman supposed to gain while growing a baby in her belly? According to the Mayo Clinic a “normal” sized woman should gain about 25 to 35 pounds and an overweight woman should gain about 15 to 25 pounds. Apparently I went overboard. I gained about 50 pounds when pregnant with my daughter. Yes, I was huge. Reading these studies make me worry about my own kid, but she’s fine size wise, completely average. As with any “new study,” they are calls to action but also must be taken with a grain of salt. Every woman and child is different. But really, who wants to have to lose those extra 40 pounds gained during pregnancy, might as well put away those Twinkies.
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