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NEW YORK, NY — Many expectant moms have been told that they must "eat for two." But now experts are warning that obesity among pregnant women is on the rise.
The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show that one out of every five pregnant women is now obese, gaining between 50 and 60 pounds during pregnancy. The recomended weight gain is just 15 to 25 pounds.
"I think it's a 9 month celebration that maybe goes too far," said Dr. John Morton, Stanford Director of Bariatric Surgery.
Pregnant women should only increase their calories by 300 a day. It's not just for the benefit of the mother, but for the baby also.
"Big moms end up having big babies, and when you have a bigger baby, that baby's at future risk for becoming obese," Morton said.
I think it's a nine month celebration that maybe goes too far.
–Dr. John Morton, Stanford Director of Bariatric Surgery
Many women follow cultural traditions of eating more during the pregnancy. Dr. Morton says that in Hispanic cultures in particular it is a norm for the mother to gain a lot of weight.
To help maintain weight, doctors recommend regular exercise programs for expectant mothers and breast feeding for new mothers. That can help with complications like high blood pressure.