A recent study found that too much weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk that the child will weigh more when born. Photo: dpa

How much an expectant mother tips the scales doesn’t reveal anything on its own about how her unborn child is faring. And a pregnant woman will obviously gain weight. But the German association of gynaecologists warns that they shouldn’t put on too many pounds.

That’s because a recent study found that too much weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk that the child will weigh more when born. Babies weighing more than 4,000 grammes when born increase the risk of complications, as well as later health issues for the child.

A recent study found that too much weight gain during pregnancy increases the risk that the child will weigh more when born. Photo: dpa

So eating for two isn’t actually worthwhile advice — a pregnant woman’s daily calorie needs only increase slightly, and that’s only in the last few months of pregnancy, says a German health network.

The Health in Life network advises women not to eat more than usual at the start of their pregnancy, though they should pay mind to their vitamins and mineral intake. Fibre can also help with digestion.

The advised amount of weight gain for pregnant women is laid out by the US Institute of Medicine: Based on their body-mass index (BMI), underweight women should not gain more than 12.5 to 18 kilogrammes, normal weight women should aim between 11.5 and 16, overweight women no more than 7 to 11.5 and obese women no more than 5 to 9 kilogrammes. – dpa