(HealthDay News) – The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2009 guidelines on gestational weight gain should serve as a basis for clinical practice, according to a Committee Opinion published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in the January issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Noting that some physicians have expressed concern that the 2009 updated IOM weight gain targets are too high, especially for overweight and obese women, researchers from the ACOG Committee on Obstetric Practice issued a Committee Opinion regarding appropriate gestational weight gain.

According to the report, the IOM’s guidelines should serve as a basis for clinical practice. At the initial prenatal visit, health care providers should determine a woman’s body mass index and counsel her accordingly at the initial visit and thereafter regarding the benefits of appropriate weight gain, diet, and exercise, and the need to limit excessive weight gain to optimize pregnancy outcomes. For overweight or obese women who are gaining (or wish to gain) less weight than recommended but have an appropriately growing fetus, individualized care and clinical judgment are necessary.

“The IOM gestational weight gain guidelines provide clinicians with a basis for practice,” the authors write. “Balancing the risks of fetal growth (in the large-for-gestational-age fetus and the small-for-gestational age fetus), obstetric complications, and maternal weight retention is essential but will remain challenging until research provides evidence to further refine the recommendations for gestational weight gain, especially among women with high degrees of obesity.”

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