Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dieting and pregnancy

What’s the real story?


With over half of Americans classified as overweight, the concerns about weight gain and pregnancy are not unfounded. Although it may not be something you have considered before, many women ask their doctors if it is safe to diet while they are pregnant.



Gaining weight is ok?


For women who are already overweight, the idea of putting on thirty or more pounds seems counter productive and perhaps even unhealthy. It is important to know it is not safe for women who are pregnant to try to lose weight by restricting their caloric intake because your body needs nutrients to help your baby develop properly and your body to adjust to the demands placed upon it during pregnancy.



General guidelines you can learn


However, if you are overweight and pregnant, the amount of weight that you should gain during a normal pregnancy is different than the amount that a woman who is at a healthy weight should gain. Doctors use a patient’s body mass index, or BMI, to determine whether they are at a healthy weight (BMI between 18.5 and 24.9), overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9), or obese (BMI over 30). This scale is based on height, weight, and gender to give an accurate assessment.

Based on this number, pregnant women should aim for the following amount of weight gain while pregnant:

  • Healthy weight: Between 25 and 35 pounds

  • Overweight: between 15 and 25 pounds

  • Obese: Between 11 and 20 pounds




Focus on health not dieting


Even if you are overweight or obese, pregnancy is not the time for a diet. Take this time to establish a healthy way of eating and you will be in a better position as a new mother to lose weight, be healthier, and have more energy.

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