A mother's health and nutrition even before pregnancy, let alone during the 9 months, has a huge impact on the baby. In this case, a study by Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research of more than 40,000 women and their babies, noted that women who gained more than 40 pounds during pregnancy, were nearly twice as likely to have heavy babies (weighing more than 9 pounds).
Though we've known for some time that maternal weight has a huge impact on the baby, this is the first time that a study shows that excessive weight gain will more than likely set up for a "big baby" and experts know that big babies go on to be at risk for a number of health issues like obesity and diabetes. So we need to begin a counseling campaign.
Women need to understand that the 9 months of pregnancy should not be an eating fest. We need to stop adopting the attitude that because you are naturally going to gain weight with a pregnancy - you can decide to go hog wild and gain unbelievable amounts of excess weight. You should be eating a bit more - maybe 200 calories/day of nutritious foods - since the quality of food can weigh heavily on the health future of that baby.
The study further showed that if you gain excess weight AND develop gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) then the risk for a big baby goes as high as 30%. So if you are overweight to begin with or if there is diabetes in the family tree, you need to really work hard to stay under a 40 pound weight gain. You are not "eating for two" - you are supposed to be eating healthfully with sufficient calories to support your own health and the health of the baby - do not look for justification to add 500, 700 or 1000 calories or more daily or to eat lots of full fat ice cream and processed treats in the name of your "baby's growth." That is dis-ordered eating and attitude at its finest.
Be a smart pregnant woman - and if necessary - ask for a consult with a dietician who can help you outline a great eating plan for this 9 month marathon called pregnancy!