Keeping weight gain in pregnancy in check

Keeping weight gain in pregnancy in check

Controlling weight gain in pregnancy is a challenge.  Weight gain is normal but too much carries more risk for a large baby, for gestational diabetes and maybe even long term risk for obesity in the offspring.  In a previous blog we have looked at what amount of weight gain is normal but for many the pounds just seem to pour on regardless of what they do.  Keeping track of your weight is useful to guide things and you may find the chart we made from the Institute of Medicine recommendations useful. What can be done to keep the weight gain in check.  A recent study came up with a simple approach which seemed to work and may help.

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Big babies in diabetes

Big babies in diabetes

Some women with diabetes who become pregnant or women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes become worried when they read of  women with diabetes delivering huge babies.  In a large Scandinavian study of over 10,000 women with GDM only 8% had babies over 4.5 kg  (nearly 10 lbs) and we know treatment will lessen this chance.   In another large study of  babies of women with Type 1 diabetes the average birth weight was 205 g (7 oz) heavier than the general population.  There is a problem but not as big as some expect; so why does diabetes cause big babies?   Sometimes in a simplistic manner it is stated that the high sugar goes into the baby and is converted into fat.  It is more complex (see below) but what is important to remember is that diabetes is only one of many contributors to the size of the baby, an important one, and one that we can do something about but it is not the only thing to determine the size of the baby.

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Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Weight Gain in Pregnancy

Just how much weight gain is normal in pregnancy?  We know the baby, placenta and fluid around the baby comes to about 5 Kg (11 lbs) but the mom also has a bigger blood volume, lays down some more fat stores and may carry excess fluid.  The Institute of Medicine in the US released suggestions for weight gain in pregnancy in May 2009 and Health Canada are using much the same.  I find it easiest to plot the weight gain on a page over the course of the pregnancy. You can down load the sheet I created based on the IOM recommendations as a PDF file, found under charting,  just print it in landscape format and use it yourself.

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