Previously, health experts recommended obese women gain at least 15 pounds during pregnancy. The 2009 IOM guidelines now recommend a weight gain of 11 to 20 pounds. However, some health experts say the new recommendations may still allow for too much extra weight for obese pregnant women.
Research shows obese women are more likely than normal-weight women to have pregnancy-related complications, like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, higher rates of C-section delivery and infant death. Research also shows babies born to obese moms are more likely to have excess body fat and insulin resistance. Thus, the cycle of obesity and health problems may be perpetuated into the next generation.
Raul Artal, M.D., Obstetrician/Gynecologist with Saint Louis University says obese women who gain less than 10 pounds while pregnant are much less likely to develop pregnancy-related complications. Artal says the ideal time to lose weight is between pregnancies. However, he says it’s safe for obese women to lose weight during pregnancy, as long as they follow a balanced diet and exercise program. In fact, insulin-using obese women who follow a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and walk at least 30 minutes a day are often able to stop taking insulin.
Registered Dietitian, Rose Catanzaro, R.D., says pregnant women can eat smaller, more frequent meals to fuel their bodies and stave off hunger.
If you have any specific questions about proper weight gain during your pregnancy, speak with your obstetrician or health care provider