Women should take weight gain advice during pregnancy

May 7, 2002 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Women should take weight gain advice during pregnancy

Women of normal weight should stick to the current guidelines of gaining about 25 to 35 pounds during their pregnancy for the healthiest outcomes for themselves and their children.

Scandinavian researchers found the frequency of complications in pregnancy was lowest in the group with the recommended weight gain. The researchers investigated the ideal amount of weight that an average-size woman should gain during pregnancy.

Overall, women who gained the amount of weight recommended had fewer delivery and pregnancy complications than women who gained more than 20 kg, or 44 pounds, during pregnancy.

However, as a woman gained more than the recommended amount of weight, her risk slowly began to increase. For example, women who gained 17.9 kg to 20.8 kg (or 39 to 45 pounds) during pregnancy had triple the risk of experiencing complications compared with women who gained 12.5 kg to 15.5 kg (or 27 to 34 pounds), who experienced the fewest problems.

Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and difficulties during delivery. Gestational diabetes can lead to the birth of a larger-than-normal baby, while preeclampsia, which is characterized by dangerously high blood pressure, can progress to a more serious, seizure-inducing condition.

However, gaining too little weight during pregnancy can result in babies being born with a low birth weight, which is associated with health problems for the infant.

Current guidelines suggest that North American women should gain an average of 11.5 kilograms (kg) to 16 kg during their pregnancy, or around 25 to 35 pounds.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.