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Now women can obsess over baby weight even before pregnancy*

May 29, 2009 |  2:15 pm

Pregnant Don't wait until pregnancy to start worrying about related weight gain -- and eventual weight loss. Start ahead of time and avoid the rush.

So say new (sort of) guidelines from an Institute of Medicine task force: Updated guidelines for pregnancy and weight gain are largely unchanged. The panel's members recommend that women get to a normal weight before becoming pregnant and that they try very, very hard not to gain too much while pregnant.

Apparently, women haven't been doing this. Hence those heavy babies and diet-resistant, post-baby pounds.
 
As if on cue comes "What to Expect Before You're Expecting." The new book, a prequel to "What to Expect When You're Expecting" offers advice on healthy eating, with specific recommendations on what to eat and not eat to enhance the chances of a noisy household. And then the authors keep going.

Reaching a normal weight is just the beginning of what pre-pregnant women need to worry about. There's how to stop using contraceptives (not as straightforward as it might seem), antidepressant use, the relevance of orgasm, sleep quality...

Some of the advice seems based on anecdotes and extremely preliminary research. Cough syrup as fertility enhancer? A suggestion to limit green tea consumption? Um, maybe... And, I suppose, if you're trying to get pregnant and inclined to obsess, why limit yourself?

Even men can get in on the pre-pregnancy anxiety. For them there's information on what exactly to "feed your boys," infertility causes, dietary supplements, soy, stress, underwear and more.

* And... just getting around to the mail... Now I find "Get Ready to Get Pregnant: Your Complete Prepregnancy Guide to Making a Smart and Healthy Baby."

This offering, from Dr. Michael Lu of the UCLA Preconception Care Clinic, also puts considerable emphasis on "nutritional preparedness," with detailed instructions on what he calls brain foods and toxic foods. Obviously, if you're a good mom-to-be, you have to choose the former.

The reading isn't quite as easy as its aforementioned counterpart, which afterall does include the possible merits of various sexual positions, but it's well foot-noted. That counts for a lot.

-- Tami Dennis  

Photo: Women need to think about all this earlier -- for themselves and their eventual little person. 

Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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