Weight Gain During PregnancyResearchers at Penn State’s College of Medicine have found a breakdown between physician and pregnant woman. According to researchers at the college, physicians rarely give overweight or obese women accurate advice about proper weight gain during pregnancy. In many cases, no advice was given at all. The study involved 24 women - 12 obese and 12 overweight. Of the 24 women, only two were given accurate advice about how much weight they should gain during pregnancy.

Weight gain charts are devised with women of healthy weights in mind. The typical weight gain suggested during pregnancy is between 25 and 35 pounds, most of which accounts for the weight of the baby, extra fluid, extra blood, the placenta and other physical changes that occur during pregnancy. However, for women who’re overweight or obese when conception occurs, weight gain goals are not 25 to 35 pounds. Overweight women should gain between 15 and 25 pounds while obese women need to stay below the 20 pounds gained mark.

In the Penn study, all of the overweight women gained more than suggested but adjusted charts and nine of the 12 obese women gained more than necessary, as well. That means a total of 21 of 24 women in the overweight and obese categories gained more weight than they should have gained, but the real shocker was the lack of medical advice about how much they should gain.

According to the women who participated in the study, 12 women were told to gain too much weight, nine providers did not discuss weight gain at all, one woman was given obscure information and two were given accurate information based on their weight at conception.

Researchers noted there are alternative means of finding weight gain suggestions, including the Internet, friends, and family, but women seek advice from their physicians that final verification they are doing the right thing.

It was also concerning that few women were given advice about how to exercise, when to exercise or if they should exercise at all. The object of exercise may be difficult for some doctors to discuss with patients who are overweight or obese, but information in some form needs to be passed on to the pregnant woman.

Source: Dr. Cynthia Chuang MD, Michael Stengel, Dr. Jennifer Jraschnewski, Kristen Kjerulff Ph.D., Sandra Hwang. Overweight pregnant women not getting proper weight-gain advice. Penn State. 10 December, 2012.