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HHS HealthBeat (December 26, 2012)

What’s appropriate

A pregnant woman measures her stomach.

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Eating for Two

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Pregnant women should gain weight, but not too much – especially if they were overweight or obese before pregnancy, because the extra weight they gain may linger after pregnancy. So researchers wanted to see what doctors were telling these women about healthy limits on weight gain. They interviewed 24 overweight or obese women.

At Penn State College of Medicine, Dr. Cynthia Chuang says the targets the women reported indicated the doctors were generally too high, if they gave any advice at all:

“Only 8 percent of the women we interviewed were advised to gain the appropriate amount of weight during their pregnancy.”

Chuang says pregnant women need only to eat 300 more calories a day – not eat for two – and should be physically active.

The study in the journal Women’s Health Issues was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December 27, 2012