Pregnancy Weight Gain Study Shows Too Many Moms Gain Too Much

On the heels of the Sarah Stage pregnancy weight gain controversy, a new study concludes many moms gain too much, putting themselves and their babies at risk for health problems.

Stage — a 30-year-old lingerie model, who has been documenting her pregnancy on social media — sparked criticism over her tiny, almost full-term baby belly. She
recently defended herself on Good Morning America, saying she can’t believe anyone would say such rude things to a pregnant woman.

“As long as the baby is healthy, I don’t think anything else matters. That should be the most important thing.”

Sarah Stage says she has gained about 20 pounds, which is right on target, according to Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Ob/Gyn and ABC News medical contributor. Dr. Ashton has no problem with Stage’s size.


“The fact that she looks skinny on Instagram does not mean her baby growth is restricted or too small. It has nothing to do if you can see her muscles if her uterus is the perfect size and she has gained an amount of weight that is acceptable.”

Dr. Ashton goes on to explain that due to Stage’s youth; tall, thin frame; and the fact this is her first pregnancy, her small belly is not unusual.

While not all expectant moms should aim to look like lingerie models, researchers are concerned with excessive pregnancy weight gain and its affects on women and babies. As reported by WebMD, nearly half of the 44,000 moms recently studied gained more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy. Thirty-two percent fell within the guidelines, and 1-in-5 gained too little weight.

Doctors find this worrisome because excessive pregnancy weight gain can have immediate and lasting health implications for both mother and child. Women have an increased risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, premature delivery, emergency c-sections, and more. Babies may be born larger and are at greater risk for childhood obesity.

It’s not completely clear why such a large number of women are gaining more pregnancy weight than recommended. Dr. Karen Cooper, director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Be Well Moms program, says many women falsely believe pregnancy is the time to eat whatever they want and the weight will come off quickly after delivery. Dr. Megan Lutz, also from the Cleveland Clinic, explains further.

“Women probably don’t know what risk factors they may have at the start of pregnancy which put them at risk for excessive or inadequate weight gain in pregnancy. Women may not know dietary or exercise recommendations to succeed in pregnancy.”

So, what’s a mom to do? One day Kelly Clarkson is being fat-shamed for her pregnancy weight gain. The next day Sarah Stage is scrutinized for her itty-bitty baby bump. Now, researchers are saying too many moms are risking their own health and that of their babies’ by not sticking to the weight guidelines. Moms experience so much guilt as it is. Does this add to yours or do you take it all with a grain of salt?

[Images by Halfpoint/Fotolia and Instagram]