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Too much weight gain 'leads to bigger babies'

Women have been advised to try and regulate their weight gain during pregnancy in the light of new research.
Women who gain more than 40 pounds (18 kg) during pregnancy are nearly twice as likely to deliver a heavy baby as those who gain the recommended amount, according to new research.

The study conducted by researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, involved more than 40,000 American women.

It was discovered that around one in five women gain above the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy, thereby doubling their chances of delivering a baby that weighs nine pounds (four kg) or more.

The study, published in the November issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that 20 per cent of women who gained in excess of 40 pounds - the upper limit of pregnancy weight gain recommendations - gave birth to heavy babies.

On the other hand less than 12 per cent of women who gained the normal amount of weight delivered heavy babies.

Pregnancy weight gain has risen considerably over the past two years and researchers say that the study provides evidence that women should strive to gain only the recommended amount and not exceed the 40 pounds guideline.

"Our study provides one more good reason for women to gain the ideal amount of weight during pregnancy and for physicians to do a better job counselling women about weight gain," said lead author Dr Teresa Hillier.

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