Gaining too little weight while you’re pregnant? Watch out – your child might be obese.

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You’re typically encouraged to eat as much as you want (within reason!) when you’re pregnant… but obviously, you don’t want to put on too much weight.

Firstly, if your baby gets too large, then this increases the chances of delivery complications (including vaginal tears and excess bleeding). On top of that, you’re probably hoping that you can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight quickly after giving birth, and gaining all that excess weight will definitely make this harder.

That said, it’s not a wise move to restrict yourself from eating during your pregnancy, either. As it turns out, if you gain too little weight when you’re pregnant, this actually INCREASES the chances of your child being obese.

Curious as to how to this works? Read on to find out more!

Study: eating too little or too much during pregnancy increases the likelihood of having obese children

According to this study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it’s not just women who eat too much who end up having overweight or obese children. Women on the opposite end of the spectrum (those who eat too little) are also likely to have children who turn out to be overweight or obese.

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The study observed 4,145 pregnant women and their children in Northern California, and researchers found that when women of healthy weight ate too little during their pregnancies, they were 63% more likely to have an overweight or obese child. Pretty intense, huh?

How much weight should you gain during pregnancy?

Your ideal weight gain during pregnancy depends on your BMI pre-pregnancy, as well as whether you’re having one child or twins / triplets.

Here are some recommended guidelines from the Ministry Of Health’s HealthHub.Sg:

What should you eat during pregnancy?

While it’s important to eat enough (for yourself, and your child!) during pregnancy, this doesn’t give you a free pass to binge on pizza, prata, and everything in between.

Because everything that you consume is passed to your baby through the placenta, you’ll want to ensure that your calories come from the purest and most nutrient-dense sources. This means cutting out foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, sugar, mercury, pesticides, and chemical food additives.

Here’s a list of food items that you should avoid consuming:

  • Fast food and junk food
  • Frozen foods
  • Processed meats (sausages, salami, bacon)
  • Unpasteurised milk and soft cheeses
  • Raw salad and vegetables
  • Raw or undercooked meat and seafood (raw oysters, cockles, sashimi, etc)

Instead, make sure your diet consists of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. If you’re consuming fish, steer clear of king mackerel and tuna, and opt for trout and wild domestic salmon; the latter contain lower mercury content.

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