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Overweight? You Can Scale Back Weight Gain in Pregnancy
Date:12/21/2012

By Carina Storrs
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are overweight or obese should gain less weight during pregnancy than moms-to-be of normal weight, according to new recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The guidelines, which are based on a woman's weight before becoming pregnant, suggest that overweight women gain between 15 and 25 pounds over the last two trimesters while obese women not increase their weight by more than 11 to 20 pounds. Normal and underweight women should gain between 25 and 35 pounds and 28 and 40 pounds, respectively.

The weight categories are based on body-mass index (BMI), a calculation based on height and weight. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is normal weight, between 25 and 29.9 is overweight and 30 or greater is considered obese.

The guidelines, published in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, state that the most important criterion is whether the fetus is growing well.

"The concern is that if overweight and obese women gain [too much] weight, they could be at increased risk of gestational diabetes, having a C-section and postpartum weight retention," said Dr. George Macones, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis and chair of the ACOG committee that wrote the new recommendations.

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy could also lead to babies being born larger than normal, which increases their risk of obesity as children and adults.

More than 50 percent of pregnant women are overweight or obese and 8 percent of women of reproductive age are extremely obese, according to an accompanying journal article.

But if women gain too little weight, babies could be born small, and these babies could be predisposed to heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure as children and adults, Macones said. "It's not a huge concern, there's
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