Sarah Stage’s body 8 months pregnant looks better than mine on a fit day! I think my baby bump looked like that on my 4th month. She is a beautiful woman that looks gorgeous pregnant or not. However that’s not a site you see everyday of a pregnant woman about to deliver in a month!
When it comes to pregnancy we are much more used to seeing women on the “higher” end. Take celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or Jessica Simpson as an example. Their highly publicized weight gain during their pregnancy is in line with the growing concern about the obesity epidemic and its relation to the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy.
However, is there still a concern for the opposite end of the spectrum. Is there a need to be concerned about not gaining enough weight during pregnancy? Especially in industrialized countries where food and nutrition sources are widely and readily available?
Unfortunately, YES! 1 out of 4 women in the U.S will not gain enough weight during pregnancy. Some reasons may be medical and involuntary while others relate to media pressure, social pressure, and personal concerns about weight gain. Due to the above reasons and more we see “Pregoroxia” and an array of “diets” to lose weight during pregnancy.
It is true that women are often advised not to gain extra weight during pregnancy as it has a maltitude of risks for mother and baby.
However, it is important to gain ENOUGH. According to the Institute of medicine (IOM) 2009 recommendations the woman who starts with a healthy BMI (weight range) before pregnancy should should gain at-least 11.3 kg (25 lbs) throughout the pregnancy, otherwise the pregnant mom will be increasing risks for her and her infant that are in some ways similar to gaining extra weight!
What are the increased risks?
1. Increased risk of preterm birth,
Preterm birth is defined as baby born before 37 weeks gestation. Increasing rates of preterm birth is a global health concern. According to World Health Organization (WHO), almost 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth.
In addition, many survivors may face a lifetime of disability, including learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems.
2. Increased risk of delivering a small for gestational age baby (sga).
Babies born SGA are associated with higher risks of central obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease later in life (Bhargava et al., 2004; Barker et al., 2005).
Check the March of Dimes website for more information about the risks of preterm and SGA babies.
3.Increased risk of infant mortality
The University of Maryland has done a study on 159,244 mothers who gave birth and found that the mothers who had insufficient weight gain during pregnancy had much increased risks of infant mortality (death) within the first year of the baby’s birth.
4. INCREASED RISK OF CHILDHOOD ASTHMA.
You will often hear things here and there about women not following health recommendations during pregnancy like “she barely gained any weight, but the baby was fine.” or “I smoked throughout my whole pregnancy, but my baby turned out just fine.” You may even hear it from your mom like “Don’t be so paranoid, I gained 40 kilos during my pregnancy, and look at you, you’re perfectly fine!” I sure hope that each baby is born with the best health possible, however what many people do not realize is that negative health outcomes may and can portray themselves months or even decades after the baby is born.
What do you think? Is it worth it?
Update: Even though Sarah Stage looks like she did not gain enough weight during pregnancy, she actually gained 28 pounds which is within the healthy range. Thus the reason her baby was born normal weight. To read more about her pregnancy check “How come Sarah Stage’s Baby was born normal weight?”
Rasmussen, K. M., & Yaktine, A. L. (2009). Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines. Food and Nutrition Board, Board on Children, Youth and Families, Institute of Medicine, National Research Council. Weight gain during pregnancy: reexamining the guidelines. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.