The Eating for Two Myth: Pregnancy and Weight Gain
I'm eating for two" used to be an excuse for pregnant women to eat with abandon. Those days are long gone.
Physicians today say that eating for two means “quality eating” because pregnant women only burn between an additional 100 to 300 calories a day. And nursing mothers only burn 400 to 600 additional calories a day.
"You need to have a well-balanced diet," says Patrick Catalano, MD, a MetroHealth OB/GYN and expert in pregnancy and diabetes. "Excessive weight gain can lead to various problems, especially if moms are overweight to begin with."
Dr. Catalano points out that if mothers-to-be are overweight or obese and gain more than the recommended weight, they are more prone to high-blood pressure, C-sections and diabetes, all of which can put both mothers and infants at risk and require additional monitoring.
How much weight should a woman gain during pregnancy?
It all depends on how much she weighs prior to becoming pregnant. Following are weight gain recommendations for women from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
- If underweight (Body Mass Index, or BMI, of less than 18.5), 28-40 lbs.
- If normal weight (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9), 25-35 lbs.
- If overweight (BMI 25 to 29.9), 15-25 lbs.
- If obese (BMI of 30 or above), 11-20 lbs. (and sometimes, no weight gain at all)
Pregnant? View our list of healthy foods and key nutrients for you and your baby.
MetroHealth OB/GYN is a leading researcher on pregnancy and diabetes
Dr. Patrick Catalano, Director of the MetroHealth Center for Reproductive Health, is a highly renowned obstetrician, professor and researcher.
Earlier this month the March of Dimes honored him with the 2011 Agnes Higgins Award for outstanding achievement in the field of maternal-fetal nutrition.
Dr. Catalano’s research has shown that babies born to obese and diabetic women have a higher risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes or other metabolic health problems later in life.
Earlier this fall, Dr. Catalano presented at an international meeting of the Diabetic Pregnancy Group in Cambridge, England, in late September.
Read about Dr. Catalano’s research on diabetes during pregnancy.