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Aurora magazine

Pregnancy does not affect long-term weight

A cliché wants the pounds taken in pregnancy to be forever. Many expectant mothers fear that the happy event will cause permanent weight changes. Research by the University of Canberra, on the other hand, suggests that pregnancies have little to do with weight gain. Rather, the blame would be unemployment and depression.

The researchers examined data from nearly 15,000 women, collected between 2008 and 2013. From these, they analyzed the body mass index before pregnancy, during gestation and after delivery. They also compared the rates of disorders related to maternal weight, such as gestational diabetes and difficulties during delivery.

In a second moment, the researchers analyzed the weight of 8,000 girls over the course of 15 years. On this occasion, they compared the weight of those who had become mothers and those who did not. According to the data, pregnancy did not have any impact on weight in the long run. Any weight gain would therefore be linked to different factors, such as age, stress or depression.

During gestation it is normal to gain weight. After gestation, it is also normal to take some time to lose the weight gained. The important thing is to eat in a balanced way before, during and after gestation. In spite of what is said, in fact, during pregnancy it is necessary to take about 300 calories more. Not exactly double, as certain commonplaces would like.

Over the course of 15 years, most of the women who participated in the study gained weight. Nevertheless, scholars have found very few differences between those who had a child and who did not. Other factors, such as physical exercise and mental health, would be much more relevant. The data have indeed unveiled a link between depression, unemployment and weight gain.