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Mar 11, 2010 2:01 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

New study supports moderate weight gain

Kathi Jackson of Palo Alto is about to become a mom of twin boys. And as she reflects on her first trimester, new research shows she made some smart choices.

"I believe I gained 12 pounds in the first trimester," Jackson said.

In a new Kaiser study researchers found pregnancy weight gain in the first trimester may play a role in the health of mom and baby.

"The concern is that if you gain more than half a pound a week, or actually .6 pounds per week, in the first trimester that will increase your risk of gestational diabetes to about 80 percent," Dr. Susan Smarr, an OBGYN, said.

Having gestational diabetes can increase a mom's risk of developing diabetes after pregnancy.

But it can also increase the size of the baby.

"Sometimes when the babies are born, they actually can come out and have issues with their own blood sugar early in life. Also, just having a larger baby might increase their risk of caesarean section," Dr. Smarr said.

And it can increase a baby's risk of developing diabetes and obesity later in life.

Doctors say often "moms-to-be" eat more during their first trimester because they believe they're " eating for two"... but in reality they only need an extra 300 calories a day.

That's about an extra sandwich.

Doctors also caution that women should be careful not to gain too much throughout the entire pregnancy.

"Women at their normal ideal body weight, somewhere between 17 - 25 pounds," Dr. Yvonne Crites, an OBGYN, said.

Kathi did not develop gestational diabetes and given the new research she says its comforting to know her slow weight gain during the first weeks of pregnancy may have played a role.

 

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