Common pregnancy myth busted
IT IS a common belief that pregnancy goes hand-in-hand with weight gain, even after the baby is born, but scientists have found that this may not be the case.
New research from University of Canberra has busted the notion that pregnancy is responsible for long-term weight gain, suggesting that unemployment and depression are likely factors in weight gain in women.
The study tracked more than 8000 women over a 16-year period to track the factors that influenced weight gain and comparing those who became mothers to those who didn't.
The findings contradicted widely accepted beliefs and even surprised the lead author, Professor Deborah Davis.
"It was a shock because what we experience as women seems to be ... you've got two kids but you also have an extra 10 kilos hanging around," Professor Davis told The Canberra Times.
"We blame babies for our pelvic floors and the like, but it seems we can't blame them for this."
The study found that there was little difference in weight gain between the women who had children and those who didn't.
All of the women in the study did gradually put on a small amount weight over time but it was clear that depression and unemployment played a role in significant weight gain.
Though they were able to find this link, they were unsure whether depression led to weight gain or if weight gain caused depression.
Indicators of smaller weight gain included a university education and high levels of exercise.
Women who had five babies were noticeably heavier than other women in the study but Professor Davis said that once education and socio-economic status were factored in the difference was not statistically significant.
It is normal to gain weight during pregnancy, but the study found that it shouldn't have an impact on your long-term weight and women only need to eat a little extra food.
"A woman only needs to eat about an extra banana [or two] a day to make a baby," Professor Davis said.
"It's amazing what our bodies can do on only 300 calories."