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June 6, 2017

Gestational Weight Gain and Outcomes for Mothers and Infants

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
JAMA. 2017;317(21):2175-2176. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.6265

“Eating for two” is the most common description of the need for increased food consumption in pregnancy. However, this statement overestimates the additional caloric needs during pregnancy and misrepresents the recommendation that a pregnant woman should increase food consumption by only a few hundred calories per day. Consistent with this, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released updated gestational weight gain guidelines1 in 2009 that called for less weight gain for obese pregnant women (11-20 lbs [to convert pounds to kilograms, multiply by 0.45]) than their prior 1990 recommendations (≥15 lbs). Specifically, the 2009 IOM recommendations suggested gestational weight gains of 28 to 40 lbs for women with an initial body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 (underweight); 25 to 35 lbs for those with an initial BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 (normal weight); 15 to 25 lbs for those with an initial BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 (overweight); and 11 to 20 lbs for those with an initial BMI greater than 30.0 (obese).1