Pregnancy Doesn’t Mean You Should Overeat


We know how tempting it can be to just eat what you want, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy, but, a new study has shown that pregnancy is not an excuse to indulge in your favorite foods.

The Study in question, undertaken by the University of New South Wales, Australia has demonstrated that:

metabolic changes in pregnant women allow them to conserve more energy and extract more calories from food so they can lay down the fat stores needed for a healthy pregnancy without eating more. Changes in gut bacteria in pregnant women and resistance to insulin and leptin — a hormone associated with the feeling of being full — also allow them to extract more energy from food.

Those who eat substantially more when they’re pregnant and gain quite a lot of weight are putting themselves at risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Maternal obesity, we are warned can also put your baby at risk of premature death from heart disease.

University of New South Wales research Professor O’Sullivan stated that the recommended amount of weight gain is 11-16kgs and roughly half of pregnant women gain more than that, especially if they are already overweight or obese.

“These findings suggest the need for reassessment of nutritional advice given to pregnant women, as current advice to increase energy intake may be increasing the risk of excessive gestational weight gain.”


The study charted the pregnancies of 26 women, 16 of normal weight, five who were overweight and 5 who were obese. Observations were made at 12-14 weeks, 24-26 weeks and 34-36 weeks gestation, which also included their diet and weight gain.

The women also kept a journal of what they ate over a three-day period in all three trimesters of their pregnancies. The findings showed that their calorie intake remained steady throughout the pregnancies at around 2066, or 8649 kilojoules.

Fat stores are essential during pregnancy, but these findings have challenged the notion that women should “eat for two”.

Pregnancy-related changes in gut microbiota could potentially allow pregnant women to absorb more calories from their diet for fat storage without changing the caloric or macronutrient intake.

How did you handle weight gain during your pregnancy?

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