Obese women should gain only 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy, according to updated guidelines from the Institute of Medicine.
The recommendation builds on the agency's earlier guidelines that recommend a weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women, 25 to 35 pounds for normal women, and 28 to 40 pounds for underweight women.
Researchers have included recommendations for obese women since body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain have increased among women across the country.
... The new ranges are more conservative, with the underweight BMI category starting at 18.5 instead of 19.8.
... This will result in better outcomes for both mom and baby, he said, since it is "remarkably clear that pre-pregnancy BMI is an independent predictor of many adverse outcomes."
Interventions in diet and exercise -- both before and during pregnancy -- will be essential in assisting women in meeting the guidelines, especially those who are obese, he said.
"The idea is that it will require an effort by many people," Dr. Catalano said. "It's not just something that one healthcare provider during pregnancy can do. It includes a host of other people including a nutritionist, dietician, and even an exercise physiologist."
... "Women don't need to eat for two, but for 1.1," he said.
... There is no continued support for lower-range weight gains in women under 20, as younger women and adolescents often need to gain more to improve birth outcomes.