Revised Guidelines for Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Posted: May 29 in Medical Weight Loss News by

Earlier this week, new weight gain guidelines for pregnancy were issued by the Institute of Medicine.

The new guidelines stem from growing evidence linking weight gain before and after pregnancy to health problems for both mother and baby.

Overweight and obese women, or those who gain excessive weight during pregnancy, are at higher risk for complications that include pregnancy induced diabetes and pre-eclampsia. And children whose mothers gained too much weight during pregnancy are more likely to be overweight or obese themselves.

The guidelines for recommended weight gain are as follows: 

BMI less than 18.5, 28 to 40 pounds

BMI of 18.6 – 24.9, 25 to 35 pounds

BMI 25 to 29.9, 15 to 25 pounds

BMI of 30 or more, 11-20 pounds

But the guidelines do urge doctors to better counsel all women to be vigilant about their weight. As many as 70 percent of pregnant women fail to comply.

“Women must bring weight gain during pregnancy into these ranges,” said Kathleen M. Rasmussen, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University who led the committee that wrote the report.

Gaining too little weight is also a concern: low-birth-weight babies are at risk for several health problems. Women carrying twins or multiples are advised to gain more weight than those carrying a single baby.

As we have always recommended at Clinical Nutrition Center, to ensure a healthier pregnancy, the report also urges doctors to counsel women to lose weight before conceiving.

Health officials say the new guidelines were necessary because of changing weight patterns among American women. Today, about 55 percent of women of childbearing age are either overweight or obese. But the 1990 pregnancy guidelines did not offer specific advice for obese women, who instead were often told to follow the recommendations for overweight women.


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