An Australian study has found that a vast majority of women do not achieve a healthy weight during pregnancy. In the comprehensive study that looked at 1.3 million pregnant women worldwide, the researchers from Monash University discovered that more than half of the women gained too much weight during pregnancy, while a quarter did not gain enough.
|You should not put on any weight in the first trimester, a little in the second and just a little more in the third
Researchers analyzed over 5,300 international studies of expecting women and found that 38% of women were overweight or obese at the beginning of pregnancy, 55% were ‘normal weight’ and 7% were underweight.
Helena Teede, the lead researcher, reported that the women who started at a higher weight were more likely to gain weight quicker as their pregnancy progressed. ‘You should not put on any weight in the 1st trimester, a little in the 2nd and just a little more in the 3rd trimester,’ she told the Australian media. ‘You should only increase your calorie intake by a small amount. You are not eating for two.’
She warned that women who did not gain enough weight were more likely to have premature births, while those who gained too much were at an increased risk of requiring a caesarean birth. She said that the study highlighted the need for strategies to monitor and optimize healthy weight in expectant mothers, insisting that weight during pregnancy needs to be closely monitored and women provided with support to improve their lifestyle.
Health professionals need to be trained and encouraged to have ‘healthy conversations’ with pregnant women on how to introduce simple yet effective lifestyle interventions to support them before, during and after pregnancy.
Until we see each other again,