According to a new study that seems to buck traditional medical logic, obese women may actually be able to lose weight during pregnancy without harming themselves or their babies.
In fact, the weight loss – if done the right way – could possibly reduce the women’s risk of needing a cesarean section.
Previously, many doctors followed the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an advisory panel to the U.S. government, which say that obese women should gain 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.
This is less than the 25 to 35 pound weight gain recommended for normal-weight women, but some researchers say it isn’t that simple. These researchers have criticized the IOM for not considering different levels of obesity.
Dr. Marie Blomberg, the author of the new study, found that severely obese women (those with a BMI of 40 or higher) could actually benefit from losing weight.
The study findings indicated that severely obese women who lost weight, rather than gaining the recommended amount, had less need for C-sections and were less likely to deliver large newborns.
Personally, I totally agree with the study. I think the findings are important for practicing obstetricians who are facing these types of issues to consider.
Severely obese women with BMIs greater than 40 should have minimal or no weight gain during pregnancy, providing that they continue to eat a balanced diet that incorporates the nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy baby and a healthy mother.
The whole mythology of pregnancy weight gain fixed on just a number has been turned around completely, and now obstetricians must focus on the initial weight of an expecting mom and decide the best course of action from there.
A balanced diet and exercise – especially in these women – as long as there are no other risk factors present, is essential in reducing or even eliminating problems during pregnancy.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.