Three kilograms may not seem like much, but a new study said Friday it is critical if a woman gains it between pregnancies.
A study, published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, found that if women who gain three kilograms or more between pregnancies increase their risk of health complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes and stillbirth.
Doctors have long advised obese women who plan to become pregnant to lose weight. But this is the first study to suggest that women who remain at a healthy weight between pregnancies can put themselves at risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
In a study that looked at a population of more than 150,000 women in Sweden who had their first and second children between 1992 and 2001, Sven Cnattingius and Eduardo Villamor of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. studied the association between interpregnancy weight gain and complications during pregnancy and delivery.
They found that the more weight the women gained between births, the higher their risks were for pre-eclampsia -- a complication that occurs in about 5 percent of pregnancies -- hypertension, diabetes, caesarean section, stillbirth and the delivery of a large baby.