Eating Disorders and Obesity: A Comprehensive Handbook

By Christopher G. Fairburn; Kelly D. Brownell | Go to book overview

80
Pregnancy and Weight Gain

BACKGROUND
STEPHAN RÖSSNER A typical weight development pattern during pregnancy and after delivery is shown in Figure 80.1. The average reported lasting weight increase with pregnancies ranges from 0.4 to 3.8 kg compared with prepregnancy weights. However, several methodological complications must be considered when these data are evaluated.
Women generally do not have recorded weight data available from the time of conception, so the initial body weight is difficult to obtain in a reliable manner.
Weight increase during pregnancy consists of several components. For technical and ethical reasons, it is not possible to analyze all of these compartments in larger studies.
Postpregnancy body weight is difficult to define. Many women may change their weight during a considerable period of time after delivery. The weight measurement taken soon after delivery may not be representative of the entire weight development associated with the pregnancy. If weight after delivery is recorded at a late stage, numerous other life changes, including a new pregnancy, may have taken place.

Body weight increases with age, whether women have children or not (see Chapter 75). The increase with age is more pronounced in women than in men. A further steep increase can be observed during onset of menopause. Basal metabolic rate normally decreases by about 1% per year. For an individual who maintains an identical lifestyle with regard to eating habits and exercise, this implies a weight increase of about 3–4 kg per 10 years.


PREGNANCY AND LACTATION

On theoretical grounds, it can be assumed that the energy requirement for an entire pregnancy is about 80,000 calories, or about 300 calories per day, to cover the needs for fetal

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