Newsflash: Pregnancy Doesn't Make You Fat

Come on now, people, it's a normal part of having a baby.

Despite what you think, having a baby won't cause you to permanently stack on the kilos.

A new University of Canberra study challenges everything we thought we knew about pregnancy and weight gain, which is essentially: if you're going to have a baby, expect to kiss goodbye to your pre-baby bod forever.

Until now, research had pretty much confirmed the link between having children and long-term weight gain, but this new study has once and for all quashed this.

The study, which was published in the journal Obesity, concluded that pregnancy alone isn't a significant enough trigger for long-term weight gain, but rather there are many factors that contribute to a larger waistline in years to come, such as depression and unemployment.

University of Canberra Professor of Midwifery and lead author Deborah Davis said: "There is a long-held perception that having babies contributes to women's weight gain leading to [being] overweight and obesity. We now have found that this is not the case."

Interestingly, the study -- which sampled more than 8,000 young Australian women over a 16-year period -- also revealed that having a university education and very high levels of physical activity were protective against long-term weight gain. The latter being most relevant to all women.

Aside from better weight control, there are numerous benefits for women who exercise before, during and after pregnancy, including improved mood -- which is great for fighting those post baby blues -- and maintenance of fitness levels. Best of all, these rewards can last a lifetime.

While the evidence is clear that all pregnant women can benefit from a little huff and puff -- specifically aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises, Professor Davis says many still fall short of the minimum requirement.

"The levels of physical activity required to protect against becoming overweight and obese in the long term are more than those recommended currently in Australia," she said.

According to Physical Activity Australia, the recommended amount of weekly exercise for pregnant women is 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, or a combination of both.

So what does this new information tell us? Well, if anything, it reminds us of how important it is to maintain a good level of fitness throughout pregnancy -- especially if you want to keep that trim tum for years to come.

Feature image: Getty.