help-patient-lost-weightPregnant women should gain weight. The question is how much is healthy. A study from Spain warns that if the weight gain isn’t sufficient, the women lose fat, which results in the release of fat-soluble chemicals such as DDT into the mom’s bloodstream. These chemicals eventually reach the fetus and have been linked to developmental disorder and learning delays, hormonal changes and immune system problems.

Currently, it’s recommended that pregnant women gain between 25 to 35 pounds. A recent study found that 40% of pregnant gain more than 35 pounds while 25% gained less than 25 pounds. For pound of fat gained, there is a 0.75% decrease in dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), a breakdown product of DDT, and a 1.4% decrease in beta-HCH, a byproduct of lindane, an insecticide. DDT was banned in the US in 1972 and lindane in 2006.

Weight gain or loss had no impact on PCB levels because maternal consumption of fish is the most important factor in determining the fetus’s exposure. PCBs have been associated with lower IQs and other effects.

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From issue: 30/03-04