Nutritionists can help pregnant women avoid putting on too many pounds by discussing appropriate weight gain, recording the woman's weight, and by making nutrition recommendations.
According to a new study published in the February issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the majority of pregnant women who participated in nutrition counselling stayed within the recommended amount of weight gain during pregnancy.
In this study, 100 expectant mothers were assigned the usual prenatal care, or pregnancy-specific diet and lifestyle counselling which involved meeting with a registered dietitian to discuss caloric intake and exercise.
All women had their weight gain recorded on the Institute of Medicine's Gestational Weight Gain Grid.
Among the women receiving nutrition counselling, the average weight gain was 28.7 pounds, compared to 35.6 pounds for the women who had the usual care with no nutrition counselling.
Over 60 percent of women who consulted with the dietitian stayed within the Institute of Medicine's weight gain guidelines, compared with less than half in the usual care group.
Babies born to the women who had nutrition counselling during their pregnancy also had slightly lower birth weights.
Current guidelines suggest that women should gain between 25 to 35 pounds (11.5 to 16 kilograms) during pregnancy if they were at a normal body weight before conceiving.
Being too heavy during pregnancy increases the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia (high blood pressure related to pregnancy) and other complications of pregnancy and delivery.
It also makes it more difficult for a woman to maintain a healthy weight after giving birth.
Counselling on weight gain during pregnancy often falls through the cracks during routine visits an obstetrician.
For personalized nutrition counselling during your pregnancy, check out how you can work with Leslie Beck, RD, author of Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.
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.