Obese pregnant women shouldn't gain weight

June 1, 2009 at 10:03 PM

NEW YORK, June 1 (UPI) -- The Institute of Medicine has changed its recommendation that overweight women should gain about 15 pounds during pregnancy, a U.S. researchers says.

"It is the mindset of our specialty, and our society, that we need to have round, chubby pregnant women in order make sure they are healthy," study leader Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, a board-certified specialist in maternal-fetal medicine at New York Medical College, says in a statement. "Pregnancy has become a license to eat. We talk about 'eating for two,' but it's really more like eating for one and 1/20th."

In the study, conducted at several hospitals, the researchers followed 232 obese pregnant women, all of whom had a body mass index of 30 or greater. Half of the women, who acted as a control group, followed conventional pre-natal nutritional guidelines -- "eat to appetite." The other half were placed on a well-balanced, nutritionally monitored program, which included a daily food diary.

The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association, found the average weight gain in the control group was 31 pounds, compared to 11 pounds in the study group. Twenty-three extremely obese patients lost weight during their pregnancy.

Thornton concluded obese pregnant women may be placed on a healthy, well balanced, monitored nutritional program without adverse maternal-fetal outcomes.

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