When you find out you’re pregnant, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is whether your future child will be obese – but it’s never too early to start prevention, according to an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The editorial’s authors, Dr. Matthew Gillman and Dr. David Ludwig of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, warn that excessive weight gain during pregnancy and having gestational diabetes can alter fetal growth and metabolism.
Gillman and Ludwig write that studies have linked both excessive weight gain and smoking during pregnancy to increased risk of obesity in the child.
It’s not just pregnancy habits that can increase risk for childhood obesity, either.
The editorial also notes that after giving birth, fewer months of breastfeeding and a shorter duration of daily sleep during infancy could result in a higher incidence of childhood obesity.
Did you try to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy? How did you maintain a healthy pregnancy?
-Katharine Watts, associate web editor