Should You Diet During Pregnancy?

Weight-gain guidelines are under construction, but so is your baby. Eat well!


How much weight to gain during pregnancy is a tricky issue. Guidelines exist, but health experts are reviewing them because so many women of child-bearing age are now overweight.

It seems the updated advice can’t come soon enough. A government study found that 34 percent of pregnant women say they are trying to maintain their weight, and about 8 percent report they’re trying to lose. These actions go against today’s prenatal weight guidelines. “The [current] recommendations say no one should lose or maintain weight during pregnancy, but a lot of women are not following them.The question is: Is this bad?” says study co-author Susan Y. Chu, Ph.D. Some controversial research suggests that obese women can safely maintain or even lose weight during pregnancy, but for most women, pregnancy is not the time to diet.

A major goal of the new guidelines, which are expected in 2009, is to help OBs offer more specific advice for women who are overweight or obese when they conceive. Until then, says Chu, follow your doctor’s advice on weight gain.