Pregnancy All-in-One For Dummies
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Although a handful of pregnant women have trouble gaining enough weight, most are at a higher risk of going overboard and putting on too many pounds. Typically, that extra weight comes in the form of 20 or 30 extra pounds of fat, resulting in a total weight gain of 50 or 70 pounds over the course of the pregnancy.

This extra weight isn't just a nightmare to get off after the baby is born; it can also lead to some serious health complications. Specifically, too much weight gain

  • May make it more difficult for your doctor to hear your baby's heartbeat and measure your uterus to plot your baby's growth
  • May lead to backaches, leg pain, and varicose veins — side effects that can persist even after you deliver your baby
  • Automatically puts you at a higher risk for medical conditions such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia
  • Increases your risk of delivering your little one via cesarean delivery because your baby could grow too large to fit through the birth canal
Of course, the negative side effects aren't limited to pregnancy. More and more studies are showing the long-term impact of a mother's diet choices and weight gain during pregnancy on the weight status and health conditions of her children. Also, women who gain too much during pregnancy have a harder time getting the weight off after pregnancy, increasing their risk of many chronic diseases, specifically diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.

If you started out your pregnancy overweight or obese, your doctor may not want you to gain any weight. Check with your doctor about his or her weight-gain recommendation and visit a registered dietitian for advice on how to meet that number the healthy way.

Some recent studies have shown better pregnancy outcomes when obese women maintained or even lost some weight while pregnant. That doesn't mean they were "dieting," per se, but they cleaned up their act from pre-pregnancy to include less junk and more nutrition, which resulted in fewer calories than their bodies were used to before. They filled up on nutritious foods and thus provided their babies with the nutrients they needed.

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