Weight before pregnancy most important to risk for complications

Agency, 8 May : Expectant mothers and doctors have focused a lot on how much a woman gains during pregnancy, but new research suggests how much a woman weighs before getting pregnant may be far more important.

The study found that the more a woman weighed at the start of her pregnancy, the more likely she was to experience complications such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery and preterm birth.

“Pregnancy complications in mothers and their infants occurred in 34% of women with a normal weight and in over 60% of women with severe obesity at the start of their pregnancy,” said senior author Dr. Romy Gaillard. She’s an assistant professor of pediatrics at Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

“Rather than focusing on maternal weight gain during pregnancy, strategies are needed to optimize maternal weight before the start of pregnancy to improve pregnancy outcomes,” she said.

That doesn’t mean expectant moms should feel free to “eat for two” throughout pregnancy, however. Weight gain during pregnancy still matters, according to Dr. Navid Mootabar, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

“The take-home is that if you want a healthy pregnancy, it’s not as much about maintaining the proper weight gain during pregnancy as it is about going into pregnancy with a proper pre-pregnancy weight,” said Mootabar, who reviewed the study’s findings.

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