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Excess Weight Gain During Pregnancy a Risk to Mother and Child
Date:10/31/2008

It doubles the chances of having a heavy baby, study finds

FRIDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- The more weight a woman gains during pregnancy, the more likely she is to have a large baby, posing health risks to both mother and child, a new study finds.

Women who gained more than 40 pounds -- the maximum recommended pregnancy weight gain -- had twice the risk of having a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, the researchers said.

An estimated one-fifth of women in the study put on too much weight during pregnancy, according to the research, published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and funded by the American Diabetes Association.

Less than 12 percent of women who gained weight within the normal range had heavy babies, the study authors said.

"Our study provides one more good reason for all women that they gain the ideal amount of weight during pregnancy, and for the health-care provider to do a good job counseling women about healthy weight gain," said lead author Dr. Teresa Hillier, an endocrinologist and senior investigator with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon and Hawaii.

Babies too heavy at birth can suffer stuck shoulders and broken collar bones, and are prone to overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. And a big baby poses risks for the mother, including vaginal tearing, bleeding and often the need for a Caesarean section, the study authors said.

Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the new research "a really good study."

"It shows how you can modify your risk factors for having large-for-gestational-age babies," she said. "Mothers want to be careful how much weight they gain during pregnancy, especially if they have gestational diabetes."

Doctors have known for decades that gestational diabetes -- which is diabetes discovered for the first ti
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