Experts warn ‘eating for two’ is a health risk for pregnant women

Pregnant women who ‘eat for two’ are putting their health at serious risk, a new study has found.

Pregnant women who ‘eat for two’ are putting their health at serious risk, a new study has found.According to the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36.3 per cent of the 11,132 women they surveyed experienced ‘out of control eating’ while pregnant.

These women gained half a stone more than those who ate regularly during pregnancy.

It also found that the children of the women who overindulged had double the chance of becoming obese by the age 15.

Researcher Dr Nadia Micali, of UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said: ‘This is the first study to investigate loss of control eating during pregnancy and its effects on pregnancy, child birth-weight and long-term weight.

‘We found loss of control eating is common and despite having serious implications for mothers and children, it has received very little attention.

‘Gestational weight gain not only puts children at a greater risk of being obese but is a predictor of later obesity in mothers.’

She added: ‘Our findings further the understanding of risk factors for obesity and highlight an urgent need for better identification and support for mothers who experience loss of control eating.’

The study was based on an analysis of data from 11,132 women in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, also known as Children of the 90s.

Women completed a food frequency questionnaire at 32 weeks pregnant and their weight gain and babies’ birth-weight were obtained from obstetric records.

Out of the women surveyed, 582 of them reported that they frequently lost control when eating during their pregnancy, compared to 3,466 who experienced it occasionally.

The women who lost control of their food intake recorded that they consumed more unhealthy snacks such as chocolate and cakes and had lower intakes of vitamins A, C and B6.

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