Gaining weight during your pregnancy is to be expected (not counting the weight of the new person growing inside of you). However, the cliché ‘eating for two’ is often used to justify binge eating during pregnancy which can have adverse health outcomes for you and your baby.
Finding the balance between eating more to ensure your baby gets proper nutrition during development and not overeating can be difficult. However, it’s vital that you try to find this balance to ensure the health of your baby and make it easier for yourself to lose weight after giving birth (something many women, unfortunately, struggle with).
The following will look at some of the consequences of overeating during pregnancy.
Putting on excess weight
Obviously, overeating during pregnancy can lead to a more significant amount of weight gain than is typical. This weight gain can be hard to notice if you are late in your pregnancy and have a large baby bump that draws attention away from other areas.
Physically carrying more weight during your pregnancy, coupled with the weight of your child, can cause a variety of issues. These issues range from joint pain to other problems such as haemorrhoids or varicose veins.
Because pregnancy results in lower physical activity and heightened cravings, it can be easy to get stuck on the couch, eating sugary foods to satisfy those cravings. Instead of this, you should try to find meals that are satisfying and nutritious that you can easily cook at home, or have someone help prepare it for you.
Causing gestational diabetes
Developing diabetes is always a risk when overeating, but it’s even worse when you run the risk of unintentionally burdening your newborn child with it. Gestational diabetes occurs when the increased sugar levels in a pregnant woman raise the levels of insulin and blood sugar in the baby she is carrying, which can expose them to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
While you might think eating too many sweets is a personal problem, it becomes a shared problem for your baby when you’re pregnant with them. When you have cravings for sugary foods during your pregnancy, remember that those treats won’t do any good for your child.
Increasing the risk of needing a C-section
If you consume too much food during your pregnancy, your baby’s weight can increase as well. The larger the baby, the more excruciating giving birth can be, and sometimes, it may even warrant an emergency c-section. While c-sections are an accepted and routine practice, they can introduce complications that are best avoided in favour of traditional birth if possible.
Even if you manage to have a traditional birth, larger babies can injure their shoulders or your birth canal during your struggle to give birth to them. Larger newborns are known to have an increased risk of low blood sugar and heart disease after they are born.
Pregnant women often cite heartburn as a problem, and overeating can make this issue even worse. As you get to the later stages of your pregnancy, your uterus will grow, and this can cause crowding around your digestive tract and add pressure on your intestines and stomach. Overeating at this time can cause more intense feelings of heartburn and indigestion.
Harder time losing weight after pregnancy
After you give birth, there’s no reason why you can’t return to your previous weight once your body has taken time to heal. If you overeat during pregnancy, then you will be heavier than you need to be when you give birth and can find it much harder to lose that weight in the future.
The ‘mummy tummy’ is a phenomenon associated with motherhood that many women struggle with for months and even years after giving birth. However, you should not feel like you can’t be as fit or attractive as you were pre-pregnancy just because you’ve had children.
If you develop lousy food habits during pregnancy under the pretext that you’re eating for two, you may find those habits very difficult to shake once the baby is born. This can lead to increased weight gain after your pregnancy and put you at risk of all the health issues that accompany it.