New guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy
Get to a healthy weight before you conceive, says the Institute of Medicine in the first national recommendations on pregnancy weight since 1990.
Among the new recommendations:
* 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.
What if a mom-to-be has gained too much? On average, overweight and obese women already are gaining five more pounds than the upper limit. But pregnancy is not a time to lose weight, stressed guidelines co-author Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
"It's not, 'Hey you gained enough, now you need to stop,'" Siega-Riz said. "Let's take stock of where you're at and start gaining correctly."
Indeed, underweight and normal-weight mothers should put on a pound a week for proper fetal growth in the second and third trimesters, the guidelines say. The overweight and obese need about half a pound a week. The guidelines say women expecting twins can gain more: 37 to 54 pounds for a normal-weight woman, 31 to 50 pounds for the overweight, 25 to 42 pounds for the obese. There's not enough information to set recommendations for triplets or more.
The institute stressed that the guidelines are aimed at U.S. women, not for parts of the world with different nutritional and obstetric needs.
-- Dory Knight Ingram, Times Momma-to-be
[Associated Press; photo from Jupiterimages]