A Saint Louis University obstetrician has said, pregnant women who are overweight or obese should not gain more weight than they should.
Recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) call for fat women to gain more weight than they should. The IOM, a non-governmental, independent, nonprofit organization, provides advice that is designed to improve health to national decision makers and the public.
But according to Raul Artal, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University, who conducted extensive research on weight gain during pregnancy with several colleagues, doesn't endorse the suggestion.
"The recently published IOM recommendations for gestational weight gain are virtually identical to those published in 1990 with one exception: obese women are now recommended to gain 11-20 pounds compared to the previous recommendations of at least 15 pounds," Artal said.
"Recommending a single standard of weight gain for all obese classes is of concern since higher BMI levels are associated with more severe medical conditions and have long-term adverse health implications," the expert added.
Artal recommended obese women eat a nutrient-rich diet of between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day, which would cause them to cap their weight gain at 10 pounds, and in some cases, lose weight.
Under a doctor's guidance, he said, obese pregnant women can safely engage in physical activities and modify their diets to successfully limit their weight gain with no harmful effects on the fetus.
When obese women reduce the amount of weight they gain, they also cut their risk of developing complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. By contrast, obese women who gain too much weight increase their risk of developing these conditions who affect both mother and fetus.