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New Research On Pregnancy Weight Gain

May 1, 2014, 6:23 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

New Research On Pregnancy Weight Gain

You've probably heard the saying that pregnant women are eating for two. But doctors say expectant mothers shouldn't double their food intake.

In fact, new research shows gaining too much weight or not enough, can be harmful to the mother and baby.

Even though she's around 30 weeks pregnant with twins, Carmen Evenson is trying her best to stay physically fit.

"It just makes me feel more energetic," Evenson said.

Evenson works out twice a week with a trainer. She also goes on walks outside.

"Carrying this weight around is a big deal, so staying in shape helps me be able to do that without hurting my back," Evenson said.

New research shows maintaining a healthy weight gain, like Evenson, can play a role in how much an expectant mother's child will weigh as he or she grows up. The study found 20-percent of women who gain too much weight during pregnancy have children who are overweight or obese.

"If you gain a large amount of weight, it also increases your risk of complications like diabetes," Sanford Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Keith Hansen said.

While it's good to stay in shape and not gain too much weight during pregnancy, it can also be harmful to your baby if you don't gain enough weight.

"It makes more insulin to hold onto more calories, so it can survive prolonged areas of really decreased nutrition," Hansen said.

Dr. Keith Hansen says the thought is when an undernourished baby is then fed well, the baby gains a lot of weight because his or her metabolism is set up for starvation. Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can also lead to other health complications for the baby.

"Cause an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and possibly even other diseases like heart disease and hypertension," Hansen said.

By staying healthy herself, Evenson hopes she'll be able to reach her number one pregnancy goal.

"To be healthy, happy babies," Evenson said.

The average woman with a normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy.

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