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For Immediate Release
Report Updates Guidelines on How Much Weight Women Should Gain During Pregnancy;Calls on Health Care Providers to Help Women Achieve a Healthy Weight Before and During Pregnancy
The new guidelines update recommendations the
The ranges for each BMI category reflect that many factors besides maternal weight and gestational weight gain affect outcomes and the reality that healthy babies are born to women across a spectrum of pregnancy weight changes. Studies consistently show that gaining within the guidelines lowers health risks for mothers and children, though this does not mean that every woman who exceeds or falls short of the guidelines or that the babies born to these women will have problems.
"This report gives women and their health care providers an evidence-based answer to the question of how much weight women should gain during pregnancy," said Kathleen M. Rasmussen, professor of nutrition, division of nutritional sciences,
Expectant mothers and their care providers need to balance the benefits of pregnancy weight gain for the fetus with the risks of too much or too little increase, which can result in consequences for both mothers and children. For mothers, the ramifications of excess weight gain include increased chances of retaining extra pounds after birth or needing a Caesarean section; for children the risks include being born preterm or larger than normal with extra fat. Each of these consequences increases the chances for subsequent health problems -- such as heart disease and diabetes in the case of extra weight, and impaired development in the case of premature birth. At the same time, adding too few pounds during pregnancy increases risks for stunted fetal growth and preterm delivery.
The report focuses on weight changes during pregnancy, but it also notes that women's weight at conception affects infants and mothers, too. Nearly two-thirds of
Helping women achieve these goals will require health care providers to increase the counseling they give their patients on weight, diet, and exercise. This counseling should occur not just during pregnancy, but well before women plan to conceive, given that many should lose weight to begin pregnancy closer to or at a normal BMI. Women's doctors should record their patients' weight, height, and BMI as a routine practice prior to conception, throughout pregnancy, and in the post-partum period. Prenatal care providers and expectant mothers should work together to set pregnancy weight gain goals based on the guidelines and other factors relevant to each patient's individual needs.
Guidelines do no good if women do not know about them and care providers do not follow and promote them. Studies published after the 1990 guidelines were released found that a high proportion of women were either given no advice on how much weight to gain or were advised to gain outside of their recommended range. The committee called on medical professional societies, federal health agencies, and other influential groups to adopt the new guidelines and help educate women on their importance for achieving healthy outcomes for their children and themselves.
The guidelines are intended for American women, the report notes. They may be applicable to women in other developed countries, but they are not intended for use in areas of the world where women are substantially shorter or thinner than American women or where adequate obstetric services are not available.
The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Development, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and Division of Nutrition Research Coordination), HHS Office of Women's Health, and the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; and the March of Dimes. Additional support was provided by the HHS Office of Minority Health (National Minority AIDS Council). The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering,
Copies of Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu/. Additional information on the report is available at http://www.iom.edu/pregnancyweightgain. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). In addition, a podcast of the public briefing held to release this report is available at http://national-academies.org/podcast.
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[ This news release and report are available at http://national-academies.org ]
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Board on Children, Youth, and Families
Food and Nutrition Board
Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines
Kathleen M. Rasmussen, Sc.D. (chair)
Division of Nutritional Sciences
Barbara Abrams, Dr. P.H., R.D.
Professor of Epidemiology, Maternal and Child Health, and Public Health Nutrition
Lisa M. Bodnar, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.
Department of Epidemiology
Claude Bouchard, Ph.D.
Executive Director, and
George A. Bray Chair in Nutrition
Nancy F. Butte, Ph.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Patrick M. Catalano, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
Department of Reproductive Biology
Matthew Gillman, M.D., S.M.
Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Fernando A. Guerra, M.D., M.P.H.*
Director of Health
San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
Paula Johnson, M.D., M.P.H.
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Michael C. Lu. M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Elizabeth R. McAnarney, M.D.*
Professor and Chair Emerita
Department of Pediatrics
Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Ph.D.
Professor of Nutritional Sciences, and
Center for Eliminating Health
David A. Savitz, Ph.D.*
Charles W. Bluhdorn Professor of Community and Preventive Medicine, and
Director of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Disease Prevention
Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Ph.D.
Department of Maternal and Child Health
Ann L. Yaktine, Ph.D.