UH Moment: "Pregnant Weight"

We eat when we're hungry.  We stop when we're full.  Or at least that's the way it's supposed to work.  Listen to this week's UH Moment.

University of Houston assistant professor Tracey Ledoux researches obesity issues, specifically the causes and interventions of overeating. If you're pregnant, the consequences of eating too much could be dangerous.

"Excess weight gain during pregnancy is significant because of what can happen beyond the birth, such as increased risk of gestational diabetes, maternal obesity and childhood obesity," Ledoux said.  "But motivation for self-care is really high during pregnancy, so it's a great time to intervene ." 

UH Assistant Professor Tracey LedouxUH Assistant Professor Tracey Ledoux

Ledoux, a faculty member in the UH Department of Health and Human Performance recently named the 2011-2012 Outstanding Dietetic Educator by the Texas Dietetic Association, has study has surveyed more than 150 pregnant women in Houston about their knowledge of nutrition, weight-gain control and eating myths.  The study tracks their weight gain throughout their pregnancy.

"There are a lot of myths out there, like 'you're eating for two,' or 'it's taboo to try to control your weight during pregnancy,'" she said.  "We also ask questions about body image associated with weight gain, which is a concern, but not discussed very much when they see their doctor." 

She expects to find that many women do not know how much weight they should gain during pregnancy and that this lack of knowledge in addition to compliance with social pressures to overeat increase risk of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight during pregnancy.  

"If we intervene during pregnancy and promote healthy weight gain, we can prevent some of these risks for their health," she said.

Tracey Ledoux's research is part of what's happening at the University of Houston.  I'm Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.