In a new study from the University of Chicago, researchers confirmed that pregnancy can be a risk factor for obesity, because most women don’t lose the baby weight, according to a report by The Today Show.
Researchers found that almost 75 percent of women weighed more a year after giving birth than they did before they got pregnant, and among those women in a pre-pregnancy normal weight range nearly half were 10 pounds heavier a year after giving birth. Twenty-five percent of the women retained 20 pounds or more a full year later. Eight hundred women who took part in the study had a body mass index (BMI) that put them in the overweight range, and that proved to be a significant factor in their inability to lose the baby weight gain.
The new research set some guidelines for pregnancy weight gain that indicate how much is too much. Healthy women with a BMI in the 18.5 to 24.9 range should heed the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations to keep their weight gain at 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women who become pregnant (BMI index of 25 to 29.9) should gain about 15 to 25 pounds, and those with a BMI over 30 should gain 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.
One key is to be healthy and active before you become pregnant. The women who exercised appropriately during pregnancy and didn’t gain excess weight during their term had a far easier time shedding the excess pounds after their baby was born.