How Much Weight Should Pregnant Women Gain?
The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine released new guidelines today for how much weight women should gain during pregnancy. And the biggest change in the guidelines--the first revision since 1990--is that they for the first time include specific recommendations for obese women.
The addition is a nod to the rising concern about the nation's obesity epidemic. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. women of childbearing age are overweight and almost one-third are obese.
Here are the recommendations:
--Healthy American women at a normal weight for their height, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9, should gain 25 to 35 pounds.
--Underweight women (a BMI less than 18.5) should gain 28 to 40 pounds.
--Overweight women (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), should gain just 15 to 25 pounds.
--Obese women (a BMI greater than 30) should limit their weight gain to 11 to 20 pounds.
BMI is based on a person's weight and height. For example, a 5-foot-6-inch tall woman weighing between 115 and 154 pounds has a normal BMI. To check your BMI, you can use this online calculator.
Pregnant women who gain too much weight face a variety of risks, including a greater likelihood of requiring a Caesarean section and more of a chance they will have a hard time shedding those extra pounds after giving birth. The babies are at risk for being born preterm, which can lead to impaired development, and also more likely to be born with extra fat, which boosts the chances of developing health problems later in life such as heart disease and diabetes.
May 28, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories: Motherhood , Obesity , Women's Health
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