Do pregnant women really need to eat for two?

Do pregnant women really need to eat for two?

Professor Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) has said that for the last 40 years, the whole issue in weight gain in pregnancy has worried about what it would do to newborn children. Pregnant women eating for two, consequences in up to a third of women putting on amounts of weight medically considered being excessive. This puts the child at high risk of complications, particularly during birth. Do pregnant women really need to eat for two?

No, on average, a woman who is not pregnant needs approximately 2100 calories. It is recommended that pregnant women only eat an extra 500 calories than a standard women’s diet. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in America estimates that one in five pregnant women are obese. Federal statistics also states that a third of females of a reproductive age are overweight.   It is recommended by the US, Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women should eat three meals and two snacks a day. That seems plentiful before you look at the number of calories recommended:  an extra 340 calories a day during the second trimester and 452 calories a day in the third. Studies even show that expectant women were limited to 1,800-2,400 calories a day which is the same as a normal diet in addition to two eggs during the middle months of pregnancy and two chocolate digestives plus some garlic bread in the third. It’s barely eating for two. In the ending trimester, pregnant women need only an extra2 00 extra calories a day, the same as two slices of toast with butter.

A recent study led by Dr Shakila Thangaratinam, a Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Obstetrician at the Queen Mary, University of London along with researchers in UK and Europe have proven that pregnant women gaining excess weight are at increased risk of complications including increased risk of high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, blood clots, miscarriages, stillbirths and gestational diabetes affecting the child as well as the mother. Other problems include backaches, leg pain, increased fatigue, varicose veins, increased risk of cesarean delivery and high blood pressure, birth weight, premature delivery, developmental delays, learning disabilities, the baby suffering a shoulder Injury and chronic health are believed to be the consequence of the mother eating for two.

The study also showed that women who gained more than the suggested amount of weight during pregnancy were three times as likely to be overweight or become ‘apple-shaped,’ 16 years later. There were also higher chances of the child becoming obese later in life as well as the mother having a greater risk of getting diabetes and struggling to drop off the pounds after pregnancy. In addition, the Pregnancy Today website also warned that indulging in large amounts of unhealthy food would promote weight gain and can make changing eating habits difficult.  Information from the National Academy of Sciences released information claiming that pregnant women would gain between 15 and 35 pounds when eating for two.

By Natalie Ho


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