Study Finds Many Women May Actually Gain Too Much Weight During Pregnancy
It is normal for expecting mothers to put on some weight during their pregnancy – there is a person growing inside of them after all! Baby bumps pop up all over Hollywood magazines, and the stereotypical image of a pregnant woman shows a perfect little belly. But how much weight gain is too much? A recent study found that many women actually gain too much weight during their pregnancy, which can be harmful for both their health and the health of their fetus.
The study analyzed information on over 44,000 women from 28 states who gave birth to one full-term baby in 2010 or 2011. The women were grouped based on their body mass index (BMI), which is a standard test that finds the ratio of height to weight. BMI scores between 18.5 and 25 are seen as normal, while people with a BMI under 18.5 are underweight. Scores between 25 and 30 indicate a person is overweight while over 30 are considered obese.
The researchers found that pre-pregnancy weight had a lot to do with how much the woman gained while pregnant. One in five women gained too little weight, while around 32 percent gained an amount of weight considered normal by the Institute of Medicine. Nearly half of the women gained excessive weight. The women who were already overweight or obese when they became pregnant, were two to three times more likely to gain too much weight. The research team believes that many women feel as though they have the ability to eat whatever they want during pregnancy, healthy or not.
So what is the right amount of weight to gain during pregnancy?
The Institute of Medicine recommends gaining between 25 and 35 pounds if you are at a normal weight prior to becoming pregnant. If you are underweight, you should try to gain between 28 and 40 pounds. Those who are overweight should only gain 15 to 25 pounds while obese women should only gain 11 to 20 pounds. Staying fit while pregnant is important for everyone’s health, and pregnant women should also discuss their activity levels and diet with their doctor.