Pregnancy Weight Rules Refocus

05.28.09 Obese moms-to-be urged to gain less

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The heavier you are, the less weight you should gain during pregnancy. That's the new word from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, and The Associated Press report.

The committee on Thursday issued the first new recommendations about pregnancy and weight gain in nearly two decades. The new report leaves unchanged the ranges for women who start out underweight (28-40 pounds), normal weight (18.5 to 24.9 pounds) and overweight (15 to 25 pounds); but it includes a new category for obese women (11 to 20 pounds). It also deleted the recommendations that short women should gain at the lower end of the range and African-American women at the upper range.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can have short-term and long-term negative health effects, such as a greater risk of having a Cesarean section and keeping those extra pounds, plus a risk of the baby being born prematurely or too large with extra fat. Experts are also concerned that pregnant women, along with other people in the U.S., have been getting fatter. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned, so many women weigh too much when they conceive.

Crib Notes has reported in the past about other pregnancy weight studies. Wondering where your pregnancy pounds go? Click over to our weight gain chart to see a breakdown. Plus check out our food tips for ways to keep your pregnancy weight gain within reason.

Remember, every woman goes through this when they're pregnant—you're not alone. Read one woman's battle with the scale when she was expecting. Her lesson: The scale isn't the only measure of a healthy pregnancy!

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.