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By Health Experts

Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

Women have been reminded to take a healthy approach to weight management during pregnancy.

Although it is commonly believed that a little weight gain is good after conception, mums-to-be have been warned not to forgo exercise during pregnancy.

Research carried out in Australia found that two-thirds of women are in the dark when it comes to how much weight they should gain while pregnant.

The study, from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, found that a third of women gained too much weight while carrying a baby.

Interestingly, another third of sampled women struggled to gain enough weight while pregnant, demonstrating that weight management can be a problem for prospective mothers of all shapes and sizes.

"The majority of women in the study knew healthy eating was important, but very few could identify how much they should be eating from different food groups, particularly fruits and vegetables," said the university's Susie de Jersey.

According to research, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, more than half of women who were overweight before becoming pregnant put on too many maternity kilos. 

That is in contrast to just a third of women who were slim before conception, with Ms de Jersey suggesting many "psychosocial factors" are at play. 

She explained how many of these women may have had more negative experiences when trying to control their weight in the past, perhaps making them more susceptible to excessive weight gain in pregnancy.

The NHS also stresses the importance for mums-to-be to balance a healthy diet with exercise during pregnancy to stay healthy.

Women typically gain between 8kg and 14kg during pregnancy, with the most weight gain occurring after week 20.

As the health service points out, specialist advice may be on hand for women weighing more than 100kg or less than 50kg to help them manage their weight during pregnancy. 

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