News Monday May 28, 2012

Obese pregnant women may be able to lose weight safely – reduce complications

A new study suggests that pregnant obese women may be able to lose weight safely while at the same time lowering the potential need for a caesarean or giving birth to overweight babies.

The findings were reported in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology journal, which suggested that some obese women might be able to lose weight during their pregnancies – importantly without causing harm to their baby or themselves.

According to the Institute of Medicine, or IOM for short, obese women should gain between 11 and 20 pounds during pregnancy. This is less than the suggested 25 to 35 pounds for women within normal weight ranges. But the research done by Dr. Marie Blomberg of the University of Linkoping, suggests these guidelines might be too restrictive.

In her study, she used past medical records from more than 46,000 obese pregnant women between 1993 and 2008. By splitting those into three categories, each in increasing levels of obesity (measured from BMI), she was able to categorize and track the interesting results.

Those in the second and third group, BMI of 35-40 and 40+ respectively, who put on weight below that recommended by the IOM, or even lost weight, had less chance of requiring a caesarean or giving birth to overweight babies than those who were within the recommended weights. Unfortunately her research did not conclude with its own guidelines to exactly how much weight is safe and so far no studies have provided information regarding it.

But Dr. Blomberg was quite clear that there would be a “reasonable” amount of safety in very obese women losing some weight during pregnancy but cautioned, along with other researchers, that this should not be taken to the extreme. Rapid weight-loss diets should be avoided and instead a healthy diet, with regular exercise, would be the better option while consulting doctors for guidance.

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