Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Does Pregnancy Weight Effect Childhood Weight?

I have read several recent news articles that touched off today's subject concerning childhood obesity (a growing problem in our country) and it's possible connection to pregnancy.  If you are interested in reading a related article, please go to:

Yeah, this is a puzzling subject to me, but what does it really mean... fat mama= fat baby as the old cliche says?  (BTW- someone said that once in reference to ME if you were wondering -I had a lot of swelling during that pregnancy due to toxemia). And even more mystifying... gain too much weight in pregnancy and you could be contributing to childhood obesity?   How in the world can pregnancy weight predict childhood obesity? 

To me, a possible explanation of the correlation between parental weight (before or during pregnancy) and childhood obesity would be that learned patterns/habits of eating (almost like social behaviors) that are exhibited in the parent could easily be taught to their offspring... whether they be good or bad habits.  Children learn by example... does this also include their eating habits?  I would say it does. Have a parent that pigs out on junk food... they are likely to teach that to their kids.  Have a parent into a healthful diet... they are likely to teach that to their kids.  Parents who lead sedentary lives also affect their children likewise; parents who lead active lives full of exercise affect their children likewise.  Tie those learned behaviors together with genetic predisposition and our children can easily become "mini-me".  Having a slender or overweight parent does not give any child an iron clad guarantee of BMI or otherwise, however.  We all are responsible for our overall health... and any negative pattern of lifestyle CAN be changed when acknowledged!
In light of that aspect, I can see huge benefits in parents considering their own behaviors (not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well) and whether or not they need to make some lifestyle adjustments to raise healthy kids.    Maybe "awareness" is one of the biggest nuggets to be gleaned in all of this.

Outside of the perimeters of "learned behaviors" I also had some powerful thoughts on the subject in regard to adjusting pregnancy weight gain recommendations (if that is even what OB/GYN's and their respective associations/ groups are considering).   What is the motivation and who is it harming?  Is our culture playing a role? Isn't it bad enough that we that live in western civilization that is obsessed with outward appearances- do we have to take our obsession to the sacred confines of pregnancy as well?  Have you heard of celebrities that delivery early via C-section just so they can avoid stretching out too much... and then immediately have a tummy tuck performed just so they can preserve their shape?   Of course, my image and body are not my profession, but to me that seems a bit self-absorbed. 
 Pregnancy is a time of gaining weight. No doubt about it.   If we begin obsessing over how much maternal weight gain is acceptable (using a cookie cutter type analysis rather than understand that individual bodies vary) we can become focused on the wrong thing... not the life we are sustaining within! 

All that said, I feel it is very important to maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.   Women should discuss weight gain with her doctor and try to follow his/her advice.  I just don't think it's right to make women who fall into "overweight" categories feel guilty about weight gain during gestation.   Likewise, it's not right for women who are overly self-conscious to attempt to gain little during pregnancy to preserve their vanity!    There needs to be BALANCE!

 Anyway, that's food for thought today (no pun intended).  Weight is always a hot topic!  With 8 pregnancies, I can say that I have had a lot of experience gaining and losing pregnancy weight.  It's not easy going through all the adjustments that your body experiences.  The main goal is a healthy baby and a safe journey along the way! 


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