A new study published this month in the journal Obesity has found that mothers who gained more weight during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy than deemed healthy by the Institute of Medicine were 2.5 times more likely to have babies be born large.
Large birth weight, meaning more than 8.5 pounds, is associated with a higher risk of childhood obesity.
Maternal obesity and weight gain in pregnancy have already been strongly linked to the development of overweight and obesity in children, but this is the first study to pinpoint the implications of when weight gain occurs.
Authors of the study say the findings emphasize the need for providers to educate women on healthy habits and weight management during pregnancy.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.