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Pregnancy should not deter obese women from watching their weight. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that obese women can maintain their weight or even lose some pounds safely during their pregnancy without jeopardizing the health of the fetus.

Dieting during Pregnancy by Obese Women does not Impairs the Growth of Their Fetus

Most of the pregnant women indulge themselves during pregnancy. They are further encouraged in doing so by their family members who feel that the more the pregnant woman eats, the better it is for the growing fetus. However, research has now shown that overeating leads to unnecessary weight gain during pregnancy which is often difficult to lose.

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According to the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a healthy normal weight woman should be advised to gain around 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy. This has been reduced to 15 to 25 pounds in case of overweight women and further reduced to 11 to 20 pounds in case of obese women. However, experts feel that gaining even 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy by obese women could be dangerous. It can lead to complications like gestational diabetes and hyper tension in the pregnant woman. It can also lead to the birth of a larger than normal baby, often necessitating a cesarean section.

Now, a new research, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, has shown that dieting by obese women during their pregnancy does not impair the growth of the fetus or harm its health in any manner. On the contrary, it may help in cutting down the complications related to obesity during pregnancy and delivery.

Experts advise a Healthy and Balanced Diet along with Moderate exercise during Pregnancy

Losing weight during pregnancy does not mean joining a rigorous dieting program. Rather, obese women, who had never been too careful about their eating habits, should begin to mind them. Pregnancy is a good time to adopt a healthier life-style. Experts advise a healthy and balanced diet along with moderate exercise, like walking for half an hour, during pregnancy. Keeping a track of what they eat will help these women to be cautious of their weight and may even lead to loss of few kilograms.

The current study was led by Dr. Julie A. Quinlivan from Australia. She, along with her colleagues, carried out the study to determine whether imposing certain antenatal dietary regulations led to a restriction in weight gain by obese women without having any adverse effect on the fetus. The researchers analyzed previous studies in which obese or overweight women had to observe dietary restrictions during their pregnancy. They considered four randomized control trials which included 537 such women. The researchers noticed that dietary restrictions could amount to a weight loss of as much as 6.5 kilograms during pregnancy. This weight loss did not have an effect on the weight of the new born.


A study of similar nature, published in the May 2011 issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, also came up with similar results. In that study, the researchers noticed that obese women who lost weight during pregnancy had a reduced incidence of cesarean sections, larger than normal babies, babies with low Apgar score or fetal distress. The incidence of pre-eclampsia or excessive hemorrhage associated with labor was also less. There was a small risk of delivering a small for gestational age baby. However, this risk was not seen in obese women who gained less weight than what is recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

In the light of the above mentioned studies, one can safely conclude that obese women can diet reasonably during their pregnancy without worrying about the health of their baby.

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