Over Eating during Pregnancy - Harmful Effects & How to Control It

Harmful Effects of Overeating During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Most women tend to gain more weight during pregnancy because of eating surplus food. Binge eating on the pretext that they should eat for two during pregnancy can lead to serious concerns later on. Research indicates that expectant mothers may be setting themselves for increased health risks by overeating. Consuming excess food while pregnant can negatively impact a baby’s health as well. The recommended measure of additional calories during the second trimester is 340 calories per day while in the third trimester it is 450 calories a day with likely weight gain of about 18 kg or less.

Video : Overeating During Pregnancy – Know the Risks

Why Should You Avoid Excessive Eating in Pregnancy?

Eating too much during pregnancy can adversely affect the well-being of a pregnant woman. Some of the reasons for avoiding excessive eating in pregnancy are:

1. Excess Weight Gain

Lack of controlled eating during pregnancy can result in undue weight gain. Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy may adversely affect a pregnant woman physically like increased leg pain, back pain and unwarranted pressure on the joints. It can also intensify the risk of developing varicose veins and haemorrhoids.

2. Gestational Diabetes

Overeating and disproportionate weight gain can expose a pregnant woman to a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. A pregnant woman’s increased sugar levels can raise baby’s insulin levels and blood sugar levels which his body may store as fat thus putting him at the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

3. Emergency Caesarean Sections

Consuming too many calories during pregnancy can affect the unborn baby’s weight. The possibility of giving birth to a large baby increases which can heighten the chances of a caesarean section and plausible complications.

4. Heartburn

Heartburn is a common complaint during pregnancy. As pregnancy advances, the growing uterus can crowd the digestive tract putting more pressure on the stomach and intestines. Eating excessively during this time may worsen the instances of indigestion and heartburn.

5. Problems for the Unborn Baby

A baby will possibly be born too big in case the mother gains excess weight owing to overeating. At the time of delivery, a larger baby may injure his shoulders or the mother’s birth canal. Large babies are also prone to experience respiratory distress, low blood sugar, the danger of obesity and heart disease after birth.

6. Pre-eclampsia

Overindulgence during pregnancy may cause pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure in pregnant women which can jeopardise the mother and baby’s health. Pre-eclampsia can become a reason for preterm delivery. Usually, in such cases, complete bed rest or even medicines will be advised.

7. Post-baby Weight Loss

A pregnant woman may easily be able to shed her expected weight gain after delivery. But in case she gains more than usual weight, it can require extra effort. If you overeat, you will have a tough time losing your pregnancy weight.

8. Bad Habits

By constantly binge-eating, you may be establishing a new bad habit. You may not be able to turn off the overeating switch even after delivery which can result in additional health issues.

How to Control Over-Eating When Pregnant

Most pregnant women may wish to ask how to stop overeating during pregnancy. Some of the possible ways to do so can be:

  • Take up light exercises while pregnant. Walking may be the easiest thing to do.
  • Keep yourself suitably hydrated as a dehydrated body may crave for extra food.
  • Stick to a healthy diet. Remember that eating junk is not going to help you during pregnancy and later as well. So avoid that.
  • You might be overeating because of some emotional response. Meditate or listen to soothing music to keep stress and anxiety in check.

Added weight gain then normal is not recommended during pregnancy. However, it does not mean that you don’t eat if you are hungry. Eat healthily and exercise in moderation and avoid binge eating. Be aware of the risks of overeating so that you can have a healthy and smooth pregnancy.

Also Read: Eating Burgers during Pregnancy

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