New Guidelines to Fight Obesity in Pregnancy Issued
March of Dimes Recommends Controlling Weight before Pregnancy
The Institute of Medicine issued new guidelines for the amount of weight a woman should gain during pregnancy. While the guidelines for underweight, normal weight and overweight women were unchanged, the IOM added a new category for obese women, with a narrow range of weight gain. Those women should only gain between 11 and 20 pounds during pregnancy.
“We have a serious concern about obesity and the complications it can cause during pregnancy and delivery for the woman and her baby,” said
Since the mid-1990s, about half of women of childbearing age are overweight, according to the IOM report.
Gaining too much, or not enough weight during pregnancy can affect the health of a newborn. Women who are overweight or obese during pregnancy are at greater risk for several complications including:
- Labor and delivery complications, including c-sections
- Hypertension, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia
- Delivery of large-for-gestational-age infants
Women who are underweight also have a greater risk of having a premature or low birthweight baby.
Babies born to overweight and obese mothers may face their own challenges. These newborns are at increased risk of:
- Being born prematurely
- Fetal and neonatal death
- Having certain birth defects, especially neural tube defects
- Needing special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
- Being obese in childhood
Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs
The new IOM report also added rates for the amount of weight a woman should gain in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy — a pound a week for underweight and normal weight women and about a half-pound for overweight and obese women.
The March of Dimes, along with other national organizations concerned with maternal and infant health, co-sponsored the IOM study.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.
SOURCE March of Dimes