Excessive Gestational Weight Gain: Long Term Health Risks

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International Journal of Childbirth Education

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Obesity is a major global concern as a known risk factor for multiple health issues. One area of interest to childbirth educators and the clients they serve is the connection between excessive gestational weight gain and increased risk factors for the mother and unborn child that extend, potentially decades, beyond delivery. Current research is now supporting a phenomenon of downstream obesity in children born after excessive gestational weight gain termed metabolic memory. Guidelines for healthy weight gain during pregnancy, a definition of excessive gestational weight gain, and an exploration of possible adverse effects of weight gain during pregnancy and after pregnancy for mother and child will be reviewed. The literature on prevention strategies is reviewed for current evidence-based advice that childbirth educators may share with their clients.

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