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No one believes that obesity during pregnancy is healthy. For that matter, no one believes that obesity on its own (whether you’re pregnant or not) is good for you. But now there’s evidence that it can negatively impact fetal growth. Take a look at what researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found out.

Okay, let’s start with what this study is about. It’s not saying that gaining a couple of extra pregnancy pounds can negatively affect your baby. This study focuses on women who are considered obese. The CDC defines obesity as having a BMI of 30.0 or higher. To put this into perspective, a normal, healthy BMI is 18.5 to 25.

Cuilin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of this study says, “Our results underscore the importance of attaining a healthy body weight before pregnancy.” And what were these results?

After analyzing ultrasounds from over 2,800 pregnant mamas, they found that the fetuses of the obese women were starting to grow longer than those of the other women starting in the 21st week of pregnancy. This above-average growth continued through week 38.

Even though the study did find a link between obesity in pregnant women and larger fetus size/weight, they don’t know why this happens.

Does this research make you think twice about your pre-pregnancy weight? Share your thoughts in the comments below.