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

me when a woman is pregnant -- is a risk factor for having a heavy baby. Treating gestational diabetes reduces the chances of having a large baby by more than 50 percent, the researchers said.

For the study, the researchers looked at 41,540 pregnant women in the Pacific Northwest and in Hawaii, all belonging to the Kaiser Permanente health plan. All underwent glucose screening for gestational diabetes.

The higher the maternal blood sugar levels went, the higher the risk for a heavy baby. Women who gained more than 40 pounds had nearly double the risk of a large baby for each level of blood sugar, compared to women who gained less than 40 pounds.

"Mothers who had normal sugar and gained in excess of 40 pounds had a higher risk of a large baby than women with gestational diabetes who had less sugar [meaning the diabetes was treated] and gained less than 40 pounds," Wu said.

But Hillier offered this caution: "Not gaining enough [weight during pregnancy] is a risk for the baby as well. The focus should be eating healthfully: low-fat dairy, protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, also, under the guidance of a physician, getting moderate amounts of exercise," she said.

More information

For more on a healthy pregnancy, visit the U.S. National Women's Health Information Center.



SOURCES: Teresa Hillier, M.D., endocrinologist and senior investigator, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Oregon and Hawaii, Portland; Jennifer Wu, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; November 2008 Obstetrics & Gynecology


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