The percentage of newborns weighing upwards of 9.9 pounds has surged in the last decade. Researchers who note a similar increase in large-for-gestational-age (LGA) babies in Europe and North America put part of the blame on concurrent increases in overweight and obesity among mothers. Overweight women are twice as likely to have an LGA infant; obese women are more than three times as likely, according to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
A study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research of more than 40,000 women and their babies found that women who gained more than 40 pounds during their pregnancies were nearly twice as likely to have a heavy baby. Published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study found that more than one in five women gains excessive weight during pregnancy, doubling her chances of having a baby that weighs 9 pounds or more.
BabyFit Tip: It is important to think about your health even before you get pregnant! Losing excess weight before conception can improve your health, as well as your baby's. If you are already pregnant, talk with your health care provider about how much weight you should gain, and take advantage of BabyFit's Nutrition Tracker to help manage your weight gain. And if you're not already, consider starting a prenatal exercise program. Research shows that women who consistently exercise throughout their pregnancies gain less weight and give birth to leaner babies.