WASHINGTON — Pregnant women who are overly concerned about controlling their weight may risk their unborn child, a government study said Wednesday.
The study, released by the National Center for Health Statistics, said women who gain less than 16 pounds during pregnancy have about 2.8 times the rate of fetal deaths as women who gain between 26 and 35 pounds.
The study, based on a sample of about 16,000 pregnancies, suggested current guidelines for weight gain may be too conservative.
Most doctors believe the proper weight gain during pregnancy should be between 22 and 27 pounds, the center said. But the new figures show better outcomes with even higher weight gains, up to 35 pounds.
High Risk of Fetal Death
The study said women who gained little weight during pregnancy had significantly higher rates of fetal death--stillbirths and fetal loss late in pregnancy, after about the 28th week.