First Trimester Weight Gain: Don't Overdo It

Suzanne Murray

scaleI feel like I dodged a bullet. When I was pregnant, I gained 55 pounds, about 25 of them in the first trimester. Fortunately, everything turned out fine for me, but a new study says that women who gain more weight in the first trimester than is recommended, are at increased risk for developing gestational diabetes.

Overweight women who gained the most weight in their first and second trimesters were twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy. While obesity is a well-known risk factor for gestational diabetes, this study is the first to link weight gain in early pregnancy with the condition. The link was strongest among overweight women, and black, Hispanic, and Asian women.

Gestational diabetes causes complications in about 7 percent of pregnancies, and can lead to early delivery, C-section, and type 2 diabetes. Babies born to women with it have an increased risk for obesity and diabetes during childhood.

Last year, the Institute of Medicine released pregnancy weight gain guidelines, but this new study suggests it's important to monitor not just total weight gain, but weight gain during early pregnancy.

If you're concerned, talk to your doctor about monitoring your weight and eating healthfully during early pregnancy.

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