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New Pregnancy Guidelines Stress Need for Adequate Weight Gain

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Washington--Healthy pregnant women do not need to take vitamin supplements and can safely gain more weight than the amount previously recommended, new guidelines from the National Institute of Medicine state.

The guidelines recommend that women of average size gain 25 to 35 pounds during a normal pregnancy in order to reduce their chances of delivering a low-birth-weight baby. They also say that, with the exception of iron, healthy women need no dietary supplements during pregnancy.

The guidelines update a 1970 report by the institute that advised women to gain 20 to 25 pounds during pregnancy. According to the new report, thin women should gain between 28 and 40 pounds, and heavy women should gain about 15 pounds.

Because young adolescents and black women often have smaller babies, the new guidelines recommend that these women try to gain amounts in the upper limits of the weight range suggested for their body size.

Pregnant women are able to ingest all the vitamins and minerals they and their babies need through a normal diet, according to the quidelines. Since their iron intake is likely to be inadequate, however, they should take 30-milligram supplements of iron daily.

The report advises poor women, smokers, alcohol and drug abusers, and vegetarians to continue to take vitamin supplements.

It recommends that there be further study on the possible benefits of vitamin supplements for pregnant teenagers.--ef

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