Posts Tagged ‘ pregnancy weight ’

Pregnant Women Are Gaining More Weight Than Needed

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Pregnant BellyGaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable—after all, your body is carrying another human—but moms need to be careful about packing on unneeded pounds or extra “baby weight.”

New research confirms that nearly half of women (47 percent) gain more than they should while pregnant, which can have a potentially negative impact on both the infant and mother.

Many professionals, including Dr. Karen Cooper, ob-gyn and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Be Well Moms program, believe misconceptions are to blame. “Most women feel that pregnancy is the time when weight does not matter and it is an opportunity to eat as much as desired,” she said. “Most believe the myth that the weight will be lost quickly and easily after delivery.”

The study, which was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, collected information from more than 44,000 mothers who gave birth between 2010 and 2011. The women were separated into categories based on whether their body mass index (BMI) were deemed underweight, at a normal weight, overweight, or obese.

Only 32 percent of the study’s participants gained an amount that fell within the recommended guidelines for their weight category. According to Health Day, the “Institute of Medicine guidelines recommend gaining 25 to 35 pounds if normal weight at the start of pregnancy; 28 to 40 pounds if underweight; 15 to 25 pounds if overweight; and 11 to 20 pounds if obese at the start of pregnancy.”

The findings showed a direct relationship between high BMI and more weight gain during pregnancy than was recommended. Those who were overweight or obese prior to becoming pregnant were two to three times more likely to gain excess weight, than those at a normal weight.

Not only does a mother’s weight influence how large the newborn will be, but gaining too much weight can increase the risk of premature birth. The newborn is also more likely to develop conditions like hypertension and gestational diabetes, according to Dr. Cooper.

Experts do not recommend dieting during pregnancy, so it’s best to regulate your weight by making health-conscious choices when it comes to eating food and staying active—and to not let any weight worries get the best of you.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Image: Pregnant belly via Shutterstock

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Pregnant? Grass and Trees Can Lead to a Healthier Baby!

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Mothers living in greener neighborhoods more likely to have healthy babiesGreen is good—especially if you’re having a baby, new research shows.

Babies born to moms who live in areas with lots of grass and trees are more likely to be born healthy—and at 40 weeks—than those born to mothers who live in cities with less green space, according to a study from Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.

The study looked at 64,000 births and found that very preterm births were 20 percent lower for moms who lived in greener neighborhoods. Moderate preterm births were lower, too—by 13 percent.

They also found that babies from the greener neighborhoods weighed about 1 1/2 ounces more at birth than infants from less green neighborhoods, Science Daily reports.

You might be thinking that factors like noise, pollution, and neighborhood income would play more of a role in a baby’s weight and delivery time, but the researchers actually adjusted results to leave out those factors and even still, it was all about the greenery.

“This was a surprise,” said Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”

While researchers aren’t sure what it is specifically about the amount of green space that helps to develop a healthy baby, there is speculation that living in that sort of environment could reduce stress and depression, or provide more opportunities for social interaction for soon-to-be-moms.

Babies that are born preterm or are underweight at birth can have more developmental and health problems as they grow older.

Pregnant? Follow our week-by-week guides for health advice, planning and more. (And don’t forget to sign up in your Due Date Club!)

Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor
Labor & Delivery: Preterm Labor

Photo of baby in grass courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Healthier Pregnancies Are Possible for Obese Women, Study Finds

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Healthier Pregnancies Are Possible for Obese Women, Study FindsAbout 30 percent of  reproductive-age women in the U.S. are currently classified as obese. And with obesity rates on the rise nationally, monitoring and understanding healthy weight gain during pregnancy has become a real concern for healthcare professionals.

Dangers abound for women who are obese and pregnant, including miscarriages, birth injuries, and a chance of having gestational diabetes, among other issues for the child down the road, TIME reports.

But research just out from the journal Obesity has promising news. The study found that the risk level can be lowered if women join in a program that encourages them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The study followed 114 women who were classified as obese, based on the Institute of Medicine guidelines. A test group was given an “intervention program,” which included individualized calorie goals, advice to follow the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension dietary pattern without sodium restriction, and attended weekly group meetings, while the control group was only given advice one-time dietary advice.

And the results? Women who participated in the intervention programs gained less weight than their counterparts and their babies also had lower numbers of large-for-gestational age weights.

“Most interventions to limit weight gain among obese women during pregnancy have failed, but our study shows that with regular contact and support, these women can limit the amount of weight they gain, which will also reduce the risk of complications during and after pregnancy,” author Kim Vesco, MD, MPH, a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, said in a press release.

Not sure what a healthy weight range is for you during pregnancy? Take a look at our general guidelines. But remember, you should always ask your healthcare provider about what’s best for you and your baby.

Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need
Weight and Pregnancy: Gain Only What You Need

Photo of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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CDC: 1 in 10 Pregnant Women Develop Gestational Diabetes

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that 1 in 10 American pregnant women develop  diabetes during pregnancy, with obesity standing out as the major risk factor for the disease.  More from HealthDay:

Gestational diabetes develops in women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar during pregnancy. As with type 2 diabetes, obesity is a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes. The increased prevalence of gestational diabetes has closely paralleled the rise in obesity, according to background information in the study.Gestational diabetes can have short- and long-term effects for both mother and baby.

Dr. Alessandro Acosta, a neonatologist at Miami Children’s Hospital, noted that the condition can cause the baby to be abnormally large, which may result in damage to the baby’s shoulders during birth. Many of these babies are so large they need to be delivered by cesarean section, he said.

The problems caused by gestational diabetes don’t end at delivery. “The bad news is that down the road these women are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” he said.

DeSisto added: “Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have more than a seven-fold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the five to 10 years after delivery. Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop pre-diabetes.”

Although the exact causes of gestational diabetes aren’t known, one explanation is that hormones from the placenta block the action of insulin in the mother’s body, according to the American Diabetes Association. This makes it hard for the mother to use insulin, so she may need up to three times as much insulin to properly use the sugar in her body.

Obesity is another possibility, DeSisto said. “Other researchers have reported that gestational diabetes has been steadily increasing consistent with the rise of obesity,” she said.

Obesity has also been linked to insulin resistance, which blunts the effect of insulin and allows blood sugar levels to rise, according to the American Diabetes Association.

“Preventing obesity is a key component of well woman care and diabetes prevention. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy weight throughout the reproductive years benefits women and improves the health of any future pregnancies,” DeSisto said.

Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock

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Mothers’ Weight, Infant Death Risk Linked

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

New research has linked a mother’s weight with the risk that her baby could either be stillborn or die shortly after birth.  Reuters has more:

The risk was greatest among the most obese women, the authors write in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The main message of the study is that maternal overweight and obesity increases the risk of fetal death, stillbirth and infant death,” said Dagfinn Aune, the study’s lead author, from Imperial College London.

“Since excess weight is a potentially modifiable risk factor, further studies should assess whether lifestyle and weight changes modifies the risk of fetal and infant death,” he told Reuters Health in an email.

Stillbirths, when a child dies in the womb toward the end of pregnancy, account for a large part of the estimated 3.6 million neonatal deaths that occur each year, the researchers point out.

Previous studies have linked women’s weight during pregnancy to the risk of their children dying in the womb or shortly after delivery due to complications. Some could not show their findings were not due to chance, however.

For the new study, the researchers pulled together data from 38 studies. Together, these included over 45,000 accounts of child deaths that occurred shortly before or after delivery, although a few studies counted deaths up to one year after birth.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, a person of normal weight would have a body mass index (BMI) – which is a measure of weight in relation to height – between 18.5 and 24.9.

An adult who is 120 pounds and five feet, five inches tall, for example, would have a BMI of 20.

A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight, and a score of 30 or above is considered obese.

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