A brand new study released recently states that women who are overweight during their pregnancy have a higher probability of having ‘big’ babies.

The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the US who took into consideration all births between 1989-2003 in New Jersey and Michigan. Next, they narrowed it down to women who gave birth to more than one child – this was to rule out the possibility of women who were obese due to genetic reasons passing it down to their babies. Over 500,000 women and 1.1 million infants were part of the study.

The results showed that females who gained over 53 pounds during their pregnancy had babies who were around 150g heavier compared to babies of women who put on only around 22 pounds during their pregnancy.

Published in Lancet, a medical journal, the study was funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

Stephan Rossner, Professor, Obesity Unit, Karolinska Hospital, Sweden said that preventing obesity should be one of the top priorities when pregnant. He said it could prove to be uncomfortable for pregnant women to eat less and also undergo certain changes in their lifestyle, but it would pay off for the babies they bring into the world.

In America, one third of the female population is of normal weight, while over 50% is obese.

According to advice from the Institute of Medicine, women of normal weight should gain only around 25-35 pounds during their pregnancy, while obese females should only gain around 11-25 pounds.

Dr. David Ludwig, Director, Optimal Weight for Life programme, Children’s Hospital, Boston said that bigger infants stood a chance of remaining heavy right throughout their life. He said that these infants were at a higher risk of developing health problems such as allergies and asthma and even possibly cancer.