How much more calories do pregnant women need?

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Women need so much extra calories during pregnancy

During pregnancy, many expectant mothers tend to consume more calories than they actually need. This has consequences not only for pregnant women, but also for their unborn children. The evaluation of the data from the so-called PEPO study (PEPO: Perinatal Prevention of Childhood Obesity) had shown that "an inappropriately high weight gain during pregnancy also increases the risk of later overweight and obesity in children", reports the research team to Dr. Regina Ensenauer from the University Hospital Munich in a current press release.

The PEPO study carried out as part of the "Competence Network Obesity" showed that "the proportion of women with excessive weight gain during pregnancy is increasing steadily," explained Dr. Ensenauer. The scientists evaluated the data of 6,837 children and their mothers to determine possible connections between the weight gain of the mother during pregnancy and the later risk of obesity among the children. The analysis of the information from the mother's passport and the child's exercise booklet showed that the children were overweight if their mothers gained excessive weight during pregnancy between the ages of five and six years, report Ensenauer and colleagues.

More than half of women put on too much weight during pregnancy The data analysis showed that “more than half of all mothers (53.6 percent) comply with the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published in 2009 regarding the upper limits for adequate weight gain exceeded during pregnancy ”, said the“ Competence Network Obesity ”. At the school entrance examination, the body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference of the children were then recorded at the age of five to six years, whereby it turned out that “of the school entrance children whose mothers had gained too much weight during pregnancy, almost thirteen percent were overweight and over seventeen percent had an increased waist circumference. " According to Regina Ensenauer, it is "obvious that in the sense of fetal programmingan increased supply of maternal nutrients may lead to a maladjustment of the fetus with an imprint for an increased risk of obesity. "

250 additional kilocalories from the second trimester of pregnancy, therefore, the experts recommend a moderate weight gain during pregnancy to ensure optimal development of the unborn child. The "additional energy requirement from the second trimester of pregnancy to the end is only 250 kilocalories per day." This is already covered with an additional 200 grams of yoghurt or a medium-sized apple. By regularly checking the weight gain in the individual thirds of pregnancy, countermeasures can be counteracted in good time, thus reducing the risk of obesity for the children. According to the experts, a healthy and balanced diet is generally of particular importance during pregnancy. It should be "rich in vitamins, trace elements, protein and complex carbohydrates", reports the "Competence Network Obesity". Nutritionist and pediatrician Regina Ensenauer added that if you are overweight, you should not be on a diet during pregnancy. However, a normalization of weight gain in the sense of minimizing the risk of obesity in children is definitely appropriate.

Monitoring weight gain enables prevention According to the researchers, the evaluation of the data showed that excessive weight gain can often be predicted in the second trimester of pregnancy and that corresponding preventive measures "could be initiated between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, in order to have negative effects on weight of the child. "If the mother managed to avoid further excessive weight gain in the last three months before the birth, the risk of later overweight of the child could be reduced, according to Dr. Reduce Regina Ensenauer significantly. (fp)

Image: Ronny Senst /

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