In an opinion issued by the AmericanCollege of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,more attention is needed onthe weight of pregnant women and itseffect on their babies. One third of all USwomen are obese, and many others are atan unhealthy weight. For obese womenwho become pregnant, there is anincreased risk of miscarriage, blood pressureproblems, and pregnancy-relateddiabetes, as well as an increased possibilityof a cesarean (C-) section delivery. Anobese mother also increases her risk fordelivering an overweight baby; a babywhose birth weight is at least 10 lb is consideredoverweight. Other dangersinclude an increased risk of stillbirth, prematurity,neural tube defects, and higherrates of childhood obesity.Women consideredto be overweight (not obese) alsoface an increased risk of diabetes, highblood pressure, and C-section if they gaintoo much weight before getting pregnant.Women can expect to gain 25 to 35 lb duringpregnancy if they are at a normalweight, 15 to 25 lb if they are overweight,and 15 lb if they are obese. Although dietingduring pregnancy is not recommended,doctors encourage lifestyle changes,portion control, and food diaries.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.