ST. LOUIS -- Current recommendations for weight gain during pregnancy developed by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1990 should be revised, according to an internationally recognized obesity expert and chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and womens health at Saint Louis University.
The editorial by Raul Artal, M.D., who has conducted extensive research on obesity during pregnancy, appears in the March issue of Expert Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an international medical journal.
Recommendations by the IOM, which are followed worldwide by obstetricians, encourage obese women to gain at least 15 pounds during pregnancy and specify no upper limit for weight gain. The IOM is a panel of national experts who provide advice on medical and health issues.
Overweight or obese women dont need to gain that much weight and should exercise and watch their calorie consumption during pregnancy, Artal said.
Pregnancy has become over the years a state of indulgence and confinement, he wrote. Pregnancy is an ideal time for behavior modification that includes physical activity and with proper medical supervision it can be safely prescribed.
The IOM guidelines were not grounded in scientific evidence, Artal said, and focused primarily on preventing low birth-weight deliveries, which generally occur when women who are underweight and of normal weight dont gain enough weight during pregnancy.
He added the guidelines did not take into account the other factors that could restrict the growth of babies. Nor did they consider the impact of excessive weight gain on the health of the fetus and mother, he wrote.
There is still a prevailing reluctance among health care providers to prescribe lifestyle modification in pregnancy that includes judicious diet and exercise, Artal said. The perception is that pregnancy is not an opportune time for such interventions because of potential risk to the fetu
|Contact: Nancy Solomon|
Saint Louis University