Posts Tagged ‘weight’

New research on weight and pregnancy

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

scaleBeing overweight during pregnancy can cause complications for you and your baby. The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have pregnancy problems such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, c-section and even a miscarriage or stillbirth. If you’re overweight or obese during pregnancy your baby is more likely to be born prematurely, have a birth defect, or have heart disease, diabetes or obesity later in life.

More and more research is being done on how your weight can affect your pregnancy. In a recent study, researchers looked at information on more than one million children born to Swedish women who were followed for nearly eight years. They found that the overall risk of cerebral palsy (a birth defect) was nearly double in babies born to women with severe obesity. CP is a group of conditions that affects the parts of the brain that control muscles and movement.

The study authors say that obesity does not cause CP, but that there is an association between obesity in pregnancy and cerebral palsy risk. Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy and maintaining healthy habits throughout your pregnancy can help reduce this risk.

“There continues to be evidence of many different repercussions and outcomes associated with being overweight or obese,” said Dr. Siobhan Dolan, medical advisor at the March of Dimes. “All the data is pointing to the same issue — that it’s good to get to a healthy weight before pregnancy and to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy,” she said.

What can you do?

If you are currently pregnant, now is not the time to lose weight. But there are things you can do to be as healthy as possible.

Here are some tips:

  • Get early and regular prenatal care. Go to every checkup, even if you are feeling fine.
  • Have a chat with your health care provider about gaining weight during your pregnancy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different – that’s why it’s important to talk to your provider about how much weight gain is right for you.
  • Eat healthy foods and do something active every day. Even getting up from your desk every hour at work and walking around the office can be helpful.

Have questions? Email or text us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org

Where does all the weight gain go during pregnancy?

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Now that you’re pregnant, your body is changing to get ready for your baby. Gaining weight is an important part of pregnancy.

If you gain too little or too much weight during pregnancy, you’re more likely than other women to have certain complications such as a premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

You may be wondering – where does all the weight go? If you’re at a healthy weight before pregnancy and gain 30 pounds during pregnancy, here’s where you carry the weight:

pregnant woman on scale

  • Baby = 7.5 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds. Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb.
  • Blood = 4 pounds
  • Body fluids = 4 pounds
  • Breasts = 2 pounds
  • Fat, protein and other nutrients = 7 pounds
  • Placenta = 1.5 pounds. The placenta grows in your uterus (also called womb) and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
  • Uterus = 2 pounds. The uterus is the place inside you where your baby grows

Gaining weight slowly and steadily is best. You may not gain any weight in the first trimester, or you may gain a little more or a little less than you think you should in any week. Try not to worry about it.

Gaining weight is necessary for your pregnancy, but gaining the right amount is also important. Talk to your prenatal care provider about the weight gain that is best for you and your body.

Have questions? Text or email AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Three factors you can control to help prevent premature birth

Monday, November 7th, 2016

preemie and momAlthough there are certain risk factors for premature birth that a woman is not able to change, the good news is that there are three risk factors that most women can do something about.

Researchers at the March of Dimes Ohio Collaborative Prematurity Research Center are making big strides. According to their published study, up to one-quarter of preterm births (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) might be prevented if we focused on three risk factors – birth spacing, weight before pregnancy and weight gain during pregnancy.

What did the research show?

The study looked at the records of 400,000 single births and found that more than 90% of the women had one of these three risk factors. The women in the study who had less than a year between pregnancies, were underweight before pregnancy and gained too little weight during pregnancy had the highest rates of preterm births – 25.2%, according to the researchers. The good news is that women may have more control over these risk factors than other factors, which can influence preterm births.

Birth spacing

Birth spacing is the period of time between giving birth and getting pregnant again. It’s also called pregnancy spacing or interpregnancy interval (also called IPI). Getting pregnant too soon can increase your next baby’s chances of being born prematurely, as well as being born at a low birthweight or small for gestational age (SGA). It’s best to wait at least 18 months after having a baby before getting pregnant again. If you’re older than 35 or have had a miscarriage or stillbirth, talk to your provider about how long to wait.

Weight before pregnancy

Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy is important. Women who are overweight or underweight are more likely to have serious pregnancy complications, including giving birth prematurely. How do you know if you’re at a healthy weight? Schedule a preconception checkup with your health care provider. This is the best time to discuss your weight and make sure you’re healthy when you get pregnant.

Weight gain during pregnancy

Gaining too much or too little weight can be harmful to you and your baby. It’s important to gain the right amount of weight for your body. Your provider can help you determine how much weight you need to gain during pregnancy.

Bottom line

There is still much we do not know about the causes of premature birth. But, knowing some things that a woman can do to decrease her chance of giving birth early, is good news.

Check out the cutting edge research our Ohio Collaborative is working on.

How much weight should I gain?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

During pregnancy, you need to gain a healthy amount of weight to support your growing baby. In this video, Dr. Siobhan Dolan talks about how much weight you should gain and what to do during pregnancy to maintain a healthy weight for you and your baby. It’s important to learn how gaining too much or too little weight can cause problems for your baby including premature birth. Don’t forget to talk to your provider about what is right for you.

New health apps from federal government

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

us-capitolThe U.S. government has launched 18 new applications for mobile phones. Several of them can help you and your family stay healthy. 

One app reports on product recalls. Another is a body-mass index (BMI) calculator for monitoring weight. One takes you straight to MedlinePlus, the federal health Web site that’s loaded with lots of useful info. And an ultraviolet (UV) index helps you check the air quality in you area.

So take a look and start downloading!

Wait… check your weight!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

on-the-scalesWe have posted before on the importance of getting your weight under control before you get pregnant.  It helps you and your baby in so many ways.  And it’s also important to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.

I just came across a great podcast from the National Academies of Science called Weight Gain During Pregnancy: How Much Is Too Much? It’s really very good and worth listening to if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.  Check it out.

Growth charts

Friday, October 30th, 2009

88586892_thbPediatric growth charts are a standard part of any checkup.  They have been used by health care providers and parents to track the growth of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States since 1977. They show us how kids are growing compared with other kids of the same age and sex. They also show a pattern of height and weight gain over time, and whether they’re developing proportionately. Girls and boys are measured on different growth charts because they grow in different patterns and at different rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has growth charts available on their website. They are not meant to be used as the only diagnostic tool for evaluating a childs’ health. Instead, growth charts are intended to help form an overall impression. If you have any questions about your child’s growth  (or growth charts) speak to your health care provider.

Click here to view Birth to 36 months: Boys Length-for-age and Weight-for-age percentiles

Click here to view Birth to 36 months: Girls Length-for-age and Weight-for-age percentiles

Cutting back on added sugars

Monday, August 31st, 2009

sugarIn the last few months, I’ve been trying to be more physically active and make healthier food choices. It hasn’t been easy, especially with all the weekend barbeques and summertime desserts (ice cream… yum). My goal isn’t so much to lose weight, but to live a healthier lifestyle so I can lower my chances of developing serious health conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease later in life.

Your body needs nutrients to give you the energy you need throughout the day. Most of these nutrients and calories come from the healthy foods you eat. Out of your daily calorie allowance, you also have a certain amount of “discretionary calories” or extra calories that you can use any way you want – maybe an afternoon snack or a small dessert after dinner (Learn more about discretionary calories). However, it turns out that many of us eat too many discretionary calories, and most of these come from drinks with added sugars (colas and other soft drink beverages).

The American Heart Association (AHA) made a new recommendation about the amount of added sugars we eat during the day. The organization recommends that most women have no more than 100 calories per day of added sugar. To give you a better idea, one can of regular cola has about 130 calories of added sugar, which is 30 calories more than recommended.

Instead of cola, why not try some sparkling water with a slice of lemon? That way, you can use your discretionary calories on something yummy.

Which diet should I choose?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

donuts-smSouth Beach. Atkins. Weight Watchers. Dean Ornish. The list goes on and on. So many diets, so little time. What’s a girl to do?

Turns out, it doesn’t matter much. That’s what Harvard researchers found out when they conducted one of the best studies ever done on diets and weight loss.

They looked at three kinds of diets: low carb, low fat and reduced animal protein. (Reduced animal protein means you eat less meat, chicken and pork. You get most of your protein from other sources like tofu and nuts.)

After 2 years, each diet group lost (and regained!) about the same amount of weight.

Bottom line:  If you reduce calories, you lose weight.

So if you’re trying to lose weight before you get pregnant, you’ve got lots of diet choices available to you. But some are healthier than others. Talk to your health care provider and pick a diet that works for you and your lifestyle.

If you’re already pregnant, now’s not the time to lose weight. Most women need about 300 extra calories a day during pregnancy, so they get the nutrients the baby needs.

Here are some March of Dimes resources that can help:

* Before You’re Pregnant: Getting Ready Physically
* Don’t U Dare (a video for women before pregnancy)
* Weight Gain During Pregnancy
* Pregnancy and the Overweight Woman
* Healthy Choices: Nutrition and Diet During Pregnancy (video)

Managing weight for baby’s sake

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

scaleYou might remember me writing about my best friend and her new baby, Milana. I can’t get over how cute Milana is!!! Now that she’s 4 months old and doing fine, my best friend is ready to hit the gym and lose the weight she gained during pregnancy. I’m hitting the gym, too – not to lose any baby weight, but rather to stay at a healthy weight for the baby I’ll have someday.

I know all about the benefits of being at a healthy weight, such as reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and more. But I was fascinated to learn that being at a healthy weight has a major impact on the health of your baby, even before pregnancy.

USA Today recently featured an article about a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study reviewed research that showed babies born to overweight, obese moms were more likely to face special health risks. Some of these risks include birth defects (spina bifida, cleft palate, heart defects), being born prematurely or being born too large (macrosomia).

Since you can’t diet once you’re pregnant (because you risk limiting nutrients your baby needs to grow), it’s very important to eat healthy and manage weight before getting pregnant. Not only will I have a better chance of having a healthy pregnancy someday, my future baby will also have a better chance of being born healthy.