Vivian Manning-Schaffel: Are you knocked up? The Institute of Medicine issued their first national recommendations on pregnancy weight since 1990. And judging from these recommendations, you might want to ditch that after-dinner Ding Dong.
Obesity rates in the U.S. have soared over the past two decades. Gaining too much weight in pregnancy can lead to health risks like high blood pressure or diabetes, and increase the chances you'll need a C-section. And babies born to overweight mothers have a greater risk of premature birth or of later becoming overweight themselves.
The guidelines recommend:
• Normal-weight women with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9: gain 25-35 pounds.
• Overweight women with a BMI 25 to 29.9: gain 15-25 pounds.
• Obese women with a BMI of 30 or higher: gain 11-20 pounds.
• Underweight women with a BMI less than 18.5: gain 28-40 pounds.
• Women expecting twins gain 37-54 pounds for a normal-weight woman, 31-50 pounds for the overweight, 25-42 pounds for the obese.
Now, considering that about 55% of women of childbearing age are overweight, preconception care isn't that common, and about half of pregnancies are unplanned, these guidelines will present a challenge to many American preggos.
But pregnancy is no time to lose weight, stressed guidelines co-author Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
However, it does signal the death knell for the ol' "eating for two" excuse. "Pregnant women should not be eating for two," said Dr. Ellen J. Landsberger, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies at New York's Montefiore Medical Center. "You want a healthy baby? On both ends, you have to eat the right amount."
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|