“I wasn’t where I wanted to be before I got pregnant,” she says.
Improving the overall health of women might play a vital role in the health of their children, says Dr. Patrick Catalano, an obstetrician specializing in maternal and fetal health at MetroHealth Medical Center.
“The health of the mother,” he says, “provides the environment for the fetus in utero.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, pregnant women who are at a healthy weight (body mass index of 18.5-24.9) should gain between 25 to 30 pounds. Up to 50 percent of women gain more, but only 20 percent bounce back to their pre-pregnancy weight, which could affect the health of subsequent children, Catalano says.
To explore this connection, he is conducting a five-year study of nonsmoking mothers, including Haag, who plan on having another child in the next few years and have no chronic medical problems. He is helping participants get fit with a nutritionist, personal trainer and a free gym membership.
“[Pregnancy] is like any other activity where you’re going to have to go through a lot, whether you’re training for a sporting event or studying for an exam,” Catalano says. “Having a baby is much the same way — you have to try to get into the best shape possible.”
2:00 PM EST
August 2, 2017