Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 22 : Turns out, your pre-pregnancy weight determines a lot more than the size of the maternity jeans you'll be wearing.
Specific messaging and resources are needed to promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy for young mothers, a new study suggested.
Weight gain during pregnancy is an issue every pregnant woman faces. After pregnancy, new research showed that for young mothers, , or BMI, and ethnicity might signal likelihood for obesity later in life.
After analyzing the medical records of more than 1,000 women who gave birth between the ages of 15 and 24, investigators from the University of Michigan concluded that physicians caring for adolescent women should use BMI before pregnancy as a strong predictor of whether a young mother will gain too much weight during pregnancy, a risk factor for later obesity. They also found that Hispanic women were less likely than non-Hispanic women to gain too much weight during pregnancy.
For the work, researchers reviewed information about the mothers' pregnancy and delivery, including pre-pregnancy BMI and the mother's weight gain during pregnancy. Follow-up interviews gathered additional information, including access to and use of health care and child care services; experiences with local welfare and child support agencies; parental conflict and domestic violence; and child health and well-being.
Researcher Tammy Chang believes getting young people to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight can lead to a healthier population in the future. Although getting adults to eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle is difficult, she says pregnancy is a prime opportunity for patient education about diet and exercise. Women are often more concerned and invested in their health during pregnancy and have more face time and support from the health care system.
Chang also noted that interventions and programs promoting healthy weight gain during pregnancy must be designed to take adolescent-specific factors into consideration. Younger pregnant women face different issues, concerns and circumstances than older or more established pregnant women.
The results are published in the journal PLOS ONE.
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