New Guidelines Advise Limiting Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Regular readers of these pages are aware of my concerns about how excess weight gain in pregnancy can adversely affect both mother and infant (click here for previous posts on this).

This issue is now addressed in a comprehensive new guideline from the Institute of Medicine that reexamines this issue (click here for summary of guideline). This guideline follows on the heels of previous recommendation from the American Dietetic Association and the American Society for Nutrition, published last year.

The report not only sets new levels for weight gain in pregnancy, but also addresses the issue of preconceptual weight given that one of the most important modifiers of pregnancy weight gain and its impact on a mother’s and her baby’s health is a woman’s weight at the start of pregnancy.

The two major differences to previous guidelines are: firstly, the recommendations are now based on the WHO BMI categories rather than the now obsolete Metropolitan Life Insurance tables. Second, the new guidelines include a specific and relatively narrow range of recommended gain for obese women.

It will remain to be seen how successfully these recommendation will be translated into practice.

Montreal, Quebec