Too much weight gain during pregnancy can contribute to childhood obesity

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month has drawn to a close, but a new study points to yet another factor that might contribute to this condition - the amount of weight mom gains while pregnant. According to research by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement published Oct. 1 in PLoS Medicine, pregnancy weight gain above that which is recommended by physicians can contribute to obesity in children through age 12.

The study focused on 41,133 pregnant mothers in Arkansas. Researchers looked at birth records of women with at least two children and measured the body mass indexes of the children at the average age of 11.9 years, considering it alongside the mother's BMI and weight gain at the time of birth. By using siblings, researchers said they'd be able to reduce variables such as gene diversity, according to HealthCanal.

"From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic," David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children's Hospital, told the news source.

Ludwig added that having this knowledge is constructive, as many women are more motivated to change their habits while pregnant to ensure healthy baby development.

For many women, pregnancy can be the perfect time to begin making healthier life choices. Talking with an obstetrician as well as a nutritionist can help women make a plan that ensures that they receive all the nutrients essential for a healthy pregnancy while keeping weight gain to a moderate level. Developing a healthy exercise routine that won't be too exerting is also a good way for expecting mothers to keep their weight under control during this critical time.

Do you have any creative suggestions that can help women limit weight gain during pregnancy? Let us know your ideas in the comments section!