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Should Obese Moms Gain Nothing During Pregnancy?

815207_73170485The idea that pregnant women “eat for two” died a long time ago, and women who are overweight have seen their preferred pregnancy weight gain dwindle over the years to a mere 11 to 15 pounds.

But a new study is trying to determine whether obese mothers really need to gain any weight at all.

The Healthy Moms study is a four-year trial that will ask pregnant moms who are also obese to not gain any weight, or at the most put on 3 percent of their body weight.  Or, as the New York Times, reports, about five pounds for a 170 pound woman.

Kathleen M. Rasmussen, a professor of nutrition at Cornell, says that while many women stop smoking and drinking after seeing those two pink lines, women who already carry extra weight often continue to gain.

“Pregnancy is what we call a teachable moment, a time when women are willing to make positive behavioral changes, because it’s important for their own health and their babies’ health,” Rasmussen tells the Times.

Most women only need about an extra 300-400 calories a day, and those calories should come from lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.  Not, ahem, late night pints of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The…. ice cream.   Or New York Super Fudge Chunk.  Either one seemed to fill the need forme.  But is restricting calories during pregnancy safe?

That’s one thing the study won’t actually address.  Though the Healthy Moms study will evaluate the pregnancy and delivery, no one will be watching the baby long term to see if there are differences in development later on.

It’s important to remember that this is simply a study, not a new standard for pregnant women who are obese.  As always, your OB is your best resource for health information during pregnancy.

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