Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eating for two? You may want to slow down.

New guidelines were released on Thursday for how much weight women should gain during pregnancy.

The facts:

-A normal-weight woman, as measured by BMI or body mass index, should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. A normal BMI, a measure of weight for height, is between 18.5 and 24.9.

-An overweight woman — BMI 25 to 29.9 — should gain 15 to 25 pounds during pregnancy.

-For the first time, the guidelines set a standard for obese women — BMI of 30 or higher: 11 to 20 pounds.

-An underweight woman — BMI less than 18.5 — should gain 28 to 40 pounds.

The reality? I gained about 50 lbs. I was normal weight going in and lost about 35 lbs the first month after birth. The rest of the weight throughout the next year. My OB never raised any concerns. I was healthy and happy. Baby was happy, although he was pushing 10lbs when born, but that has more to do with genetics then if I ate ice cream or not.

The most important message from the Institute of Medicine: Get to a healthy weight before you conceive. It's healthiest for the mother — less chance of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or diabetes, or the need for a C-section — and it's best for the baby, too. Babies born to overweight mothers have a greater risk of premature birth or of later becoming overweight themselves, among other concerns.

The guidelines call for increased nutrition and exercise counseling during pregnancy, saying doctors or midwives may need to consult a dietitian to tailor a woman's care no matter her starting weight. Also, providers should discuss whether a woman plans to breastfeed, which not only is optimal for the baby but helps the new mother shed pounds, too.

What did you gain? If it was over the recommendations was your doctor concerned?

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