One More Thing to Worry About With Pregnancy Weight Gain?
Expectant mothers already worry about a lot of things, now they may have one more. Researchers have found a correlation between pregnancy weight gain and autism risk.
When I was pregnant the first time, I had a lot of concerns about how I might be affecting my daughter’s growth and development. This was especially true when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. When they called with my test results I cried. I felt awful and apologized to unborn Rissa. It wasn’t the first or last worry I had though.
Pregnancy weight gain is certainly a concern because it has immediate and future affects on mom and baby’s health. Too little weight gain can lead to underweight babies. Gaining too much, on the other hand, can increase a mom-to-be’s risk of giving birth to a big baby or developing complications such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Oh, and let’s not forget our worries about shedding all that baby weight too.
As if all that wasn’t enough to worry about, a recent study by the University of Utah has linked weight gain during pregnancy with autism:
“Although weight gain during pregnancy was associated with autism risk, the modest difference in weight gain found suggests that weight gain serves as a marker rather than a cause for autism,” said study lead author Dr. Deborah Bilder, a pediatrician and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.
“As a marker, it would share an underlying cause with autism, such as hormone imbalance or inflammation,” Bilder added.
So, they aren’t saying increased weight gains causes it, but higher weekly gains could be an indicator that baby is at risk for autism. Something appears to be happening during pregnancy that increases the risk while causing additional weight gains. When I first read about this study I thought, “Whoa, I’d be over-analyzing every weekly weigh in.” We aren’t talking huge differences in gains either, only an “average difference of only about 3 pounds in weight gain when comparing mothers of children with and without autism.”
I’m glad there’s been a lot of new research findings for detecting autism earlier, as well as discussion on how to prevent autism (or at least minimize risks). Even if it is an extremely early indicator, what can we do about it during pregnancy? Is there anything we can do? Or does this just add to an already too long list of worries for moms-to-be?
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