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Pregnancy Isn't an Excuse to Overeat

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Good snacks, Landon says, are a couple of graham crackers with a little peanut butter or a piece of whole wheat toast, a piece of fruit, and a glass of milk.

"People use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything and anything they want," Landon says. The important thing is to determine the calorie needs according to the weight at the beginning of pregnancy. "We're not trying to get them to lose weight," she says, "just not to gain more than necessary."

As for exercise, the experts say there is no medical reason not to continue most of the activities you participated in prior to pregnancy, unless your doctor believes you have a risk of premature labor or other health considerations.

Landon says that it's also important to cut the extra calories out of the diet once your baby is born and to resume physical activities. If you are breastfeeding, you will need some extra nutrients and calories. Ask your doctor or lactation consultant about losing weight while breastfeeding your baby.

Olson and her team will follow the women they studied through two years after birth. They also will be looking at the women's attitudes and satisfaction concerning body image and the health implications of excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

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