As midwives we get asked all the time why it is so important to weigh women who are pregnant regularly.
This is not because we want to make you feel bad, or guilty for that cake you had, or the chocolate bar that helped you get through your day. It's because we care about you, your baby and your grandkids!
"What?" I hear you say! It's true, and I can explain why and how that happens.
You may have heard many people over the years debate the "Nature or nurture" argument for why our kids turn out the way they do - and the answer is that it is both. Scientists and researchers around the world have been looking into how we develop as humans and have landed on some very interesting stuff indeed.
We already know the genes we inherit from our mum and dad will guide what we can potentially be, such as how tall we are, or whether we are moody or happy "by nature". But we now know that these genes can change with how we respond to outside influences.
These "influences" include what we are exposed to before we are born all the way up to when we start "big school'.
The scientific term for these changes is "Epigenetics", which is an area of research showing how environmental influences and children's experiences have the ability to change the genes that their parents passed on.
During pregnancy when our baby is developing there are a number of chemical marks on our DNA (the stuff that makes up our genes). The experiences and hormones our babies are exposed to effects how these genes on their DNA are expressed.
Rapid weight gain is just one of these experiences that changes our genes.
There is a lot of information now on how important it is to put on weight slowly and in small amounts during pregnancy. This is because when weight is put on too quickly, even if it's healthy food, we release hormones that your baby reacts to because they get into their blood stream, like insulin. These hormones teach the baby how to react and their genes are formed around these "lessons".
In the same way if we give our growing baby everything they need with healthy foods and a good mix of vegetables and unprocessed nutritious foods we make sure the genes we gave them can reach their best potential!
In fact the genes they develop when they are in your belly are passed on for 3 generations, so your grandkids will thank you - so try to stay away from cigarettes, alcohol and make sure you stay active too!
So weighing you every time you visit us helps us help you to know you are staying on track. This doesn't mean you should starve yourself either, because you need to help our baby grow, but just be sensible and be guided by your midwife or doctor.
If this seems all a little confusing and you want to know exactly what amount of weight is a "healthy" weight come and see the experts at the NSW Get Healthy in Pregnancy stall, or visit our website www.gethealthynsw.com.au.
Or you can see how much you should put on and record this now on the Pregnancy weight gain tracker by going to: www.gethealthynsw.com.au/pregnancy-calculator.
Our telephone coaching service is FREE and was developed by midwives and doctors at NSW Health to take the guesswork out of what is healthy in pregnancy. Our expert exercise physiologists and dietitians will coach you over the phone for up to 6 months, and they care about you, your baby and your baby's babies!
So if you want healthy grandkids call us today to join the Get Healthy in Pregnancy Telephone Coaching and Information Program on 1300 806 258, or sign up at our stall at the PBC EXPO!
Find out more about NSW Get Healthy in Pregnancy here