September is Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month, and as both writer and editor here at Birth Story, I intend to take advantage of this important event. I've been writing some long posts, but I'm hoping to keep them a bit shorter this month.
Jane E. Brody's Personal Health column in the New York Times Science section today, for example, suggests that moms should adopt a healthy regimen, and maintain a lean frame, even before they get pregnant, if they want to help their children avoid becoming overweight themselves.
Brody's piece is a survey of the present understandings of how a mother's weight while pregnant affects the health of her fetus.
Her chief reference is a recent Lancet article that sought to tease apart the influence of genetics from the effects of more-than-adequate weight gain during pregnancy.
A separate study in Circulation "found that a woman’s weight before pregnancy was even more important than excessive weight gain during pregnancy in predicting a number of risks for the baby" that included childhood obesity," Brody writes.
"The new findings suggest that Americans are now caught in a vicious cycle of increasing fatness, with prospective mothers starting out fatter, gaining more weight during pregnancy and giving birth to babies who are destined to become overweight adults," Brody writes.
The latest recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Sciences, call for these weight gains during pregnancy:
¶28 to 40 pounds for thin women, with a B.M.I. of 18.5 or lower.
¶25 to 35 pounds for normal-weight women, with a body mass index of 18.6 to 24.9.
¶15 to 25 pounds for overweight women, with a body mass index of 25 to 29.9.
¶11 to 20 pounds for obese women, with a body mass index of 30 or higher.
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