The traditional advice that expectant mothers should 'eat for two' is dangerous, says a report by a British government health watchdog.
The watchdog, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), says it has been forced to speak out against the common advice to prevent an obesity crisis among mothers-to-be.
In a report released Wednesday, NICE suggests that pregnant women should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day such as a brisk walk, swimming or cycling, according a Daily Mail report.
Almost half of expectant mothers are overweight or obese, putting themselves at much higher risk of fatal health conditions such as blood clots, miscarriages and stillbirths, according to the latest statistics.
They should ensure that they eat breakfast so they aren't tempted by unhealthy snacks later in the day.
New mothers should start shedding their baby weight six months after birth, the health watchdog advises.
General practitioners should tell obese women to lose weight before they consider starting a family, it says, and girls should be taught at school the risks of being overweight and having children.
Under the recommendations, women should not eat more food than normal until the last three months of pregnancy.
Even then they should only have an extra 200 calories a day - the equivalent of two bananas. NICE fears that growing numbers of obese women are becoming even fatter during pregnancy because they assume that they can 'eat for two'.
Many never manage to lose this baby weight and will pile on even more when expecting their second or third child.