-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight or obese
pregnant women who believe they are "eating for two" are more
likely to gain too much weight, a new study shows.
Researchers cautioned that gaining too much weight during
pregnancy could lead to long-term weight problems, as well as
premature delivery. They suggested that women be counseled on their
weight gain limits before or shortly after they become
"Women who closely monitor their weight gain during pregnancy can prevent future complications," study leader Cynthia Chuang, an associate professor of medicine and public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine, said in a university news release.
In conducting the study, the researchers questioned 29
overweight or obese women who had recently given birth about their
diet, whether or not they had morning sickness, and when they
exercised during their pregnancy.
Experts recommend that women who are a normal weight gain 25 to
35 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women should gain 15 to 25
pounds, and obese women should gain only 11 to 20 pounds.
The women who gained more than the recommended amount of weight
believed they were "eating for two." The researchers noted these
women exercised less than usual while they were pregnant, made less
healthy food choices and gave in to their cravings.
Meanwhile, the women who gained the recommended amount of weight
during their pregnancy followed a meal plan and were careful about
their food choices. They also didn't increase the amount of
calories they consumed daily and exercised just as much or more as
they did before they became pregnant.
"Overall, the women were more goal-oriented in terms of regulating weight during pregnancy," Chuang noted.
Although about half of the women kept track of their weight gain
throughout their pregnancy, none of the women who gained too much
weight got the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity
exercise each week.
Women who are a normal weight should consume only 300 extra
calories per day while pregnant, according to the American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Women who are overweight or
obese should consume even fewer extra calories.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more on
staying healthy during pregnancy.
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