Gaining an appropriate amount of weight when you’re pregnant is wise for many reasons. In addition to making the pregnancy healthier for both you and your fetus, it leads to less of struggle to lose weight once the baby arrives. And now researchers have found that it could also mean less of a struggle for your daughter to stay slim, too.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine OBGYN assistant professor Alison Stuebe, MD, analyzed more than 24,000 mother-daughter sets to determine the link between a mother’s pregnancy weight and her daughter’s weight at the beginning of and throughout her adulthood. The study found that daughters whose mothers recall gaining 15 to 19 pounds during pregnancy had the lowest obesity risk; daughters whose mothers recall gaining more than 40 pounds were twice as likely to be obese by 18 years old. Interestingly, gaining too little weight-less than 10 pounds-during pregnancy also led to a daughter’s increased risk of obesity.
A woman’s weight before pregnancy can impact her daughter’s future weight, as well. The more a woman weighs before pregnancy, the more likely her daughter will be to reach obesity by adulthood.
“Women should aim for a healthy weight before they get pregnant, and then gain a moderate amount,” Stuebe said of her findings. “If we can help women reach a healthy weight before they start a family, we can make a difference for two generations.”
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