Implications of Obesity and Infant Mortality
Weight gain and obesity are health concerns among men and women, but a new study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology highlights the importance of weight management for new and expecting mothers. The study, which analyzed birth records of 6 million babies in the United States from 2012-2013, found a relationship between pre-pregnancy obesity and infant mortality. The risk of infant death was 32% higher for mothers in the obese I category and 72% higher for mothers in the obese III category.
This study further emphasizes the importance of healthy L.E.A.N. habits for the sake of mom and baby.
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Although gaining 25-30 pounds during pregnancy is normal, if a woman is already overweight prior to her pregnancy, the average weight gain should be closer to 20-25 pounds. Women need a “fat reserve” during pregnancy to provide a healthy amount of calories for the baby and energy for producing milk postpartum. If a woman already has a reserve prior to pregnancy, there isn’t a need to invest more efforts into building the fat reserve during pregnancy.
Eating healthy prior to pregnancy will support a healthy womb for the baby. Even though it’s common to “eat for two” during pregnancy, this isn’t a free pass to dismiss the Traffic Light Eating mindset. Women should focus on eating quality foods for two. Pregnant or not, you should get 15-20% of your daily calories from protein, 50-60% from complex carbohydrates (primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), and 20-30% from healthy fats. However, some proteins, carbs, and fats are better for you than others, so it’s important to be informed and choose wisely.
The best food for mom and baby should be:
- Nutrient-dense, providing more nourishment per calorie
- Filling without being fattening
- Rich in nutrients mother and baby most need
- Friendly to queasy stomachs
- Versatile and tasty
- Able to boost the immune system
- Free of harmful additives
- The Healthy Pregnancy Book: Month by Month, Everything You Need to Know from America’s Baby Experts, William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN with Linda Holt, MD, and BJ Snell, PhD, CNW