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Health & Pregnancy

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Obese Women Retain More Pregnancy Weight

Study: 70% Gained More Weight Than Recommended

Putting Pregnant Women on a Diet continued...

The Kaiser researchers recently began recruitment for a study examining whether very obese women and their babies fare even better when they gain no weight at all.

The "Healthy Moms" study, funded by a $2.2 million grant from the federal government, will include women who are 50 to 100 pounds above their normal weight at the start of pregnancy, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research senior investigator Victor Stevens, PhD, tells WebMD.

"These are not women with just a few pounds to lose," he says. "These are women who are carrying so much extra weight that it is a risk to themselves and their baby."

Half of the women recruited for the study will receive standard care, including a single counseling session to discuss diet and nutrition.

The other half will receive more intensive counseling to teach them strategies for healthy eating and they will attend weekly support sessions designed to reinforce positive behaviors. They will also be given personalized eating plans that will restrict their calories to about 2,000 a day, Stevens says.

The goal is for these women to be within 3% of their pre-pregnancy weight after delivery.

"The new IOM guidelines call for gaining no more than 20 pounds, but for women who are very obese this may not be the best advice," Stevens says. "We want to see if outcomes are better if these women gain no weight or even lose some weight."

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