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Early weight gain in pregnancy can lead to childhood obesity

A recent large study, published in Obesity, has shown that weight gain in early pregnancy has a great impact on infant size and childhood obesity. The study examined 16,218 pregnant mothers in China in all three trimesters. It found that weight gain in the first trimester, regardless of weight gain later, had the greatest impact on infant size; in fact infants born to women with weight gain that exceeds the 2009 Institute of Medicine guidelines were 2.5 times more likely to be born large. It has been known for some time that weight gain in pregnancy can lead to larger babies, but this is the first study of its kind to examine in-depth timings to gestational weight gain and its effect.

The study authors hope that women who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, can use these findings to help regulate their health and subsequently their child’s health throughout their pregnancy. Especially since this early period of pregnancy is an ideal time to initiate lifestyle interventions. The study itself is one of the largest and most well-defined studies of its kind and experts are hoping that similar research will be undertaken to further our knowledge in this area.

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