10/15/2012 10:00 am ET Updated Dec 15, 2012

Economic Recovery and Management of Problematic Pregnancies: A Curious But Instructive Parallel

President Obama has received criticism for the stubbornly slow rate of economic growth. However, there are mitigating factors that may simply be explained by comparing the recovery from economic trauma to the management of health trends and goals in problematic pregnancies.

Nutritionists who work in the field of Community and Public Health strive to understand each client's social, economic, cultural and medical history including trends in health indicators, such as weight or hemoglobin parameters over time. This assessment is important in determining immediate vs. long term goals and developing a realistic plan to ultimately optimize their nutritional status. A pregnant woman requires a nutrient-rich diet and adequate weight gain to promote healthy outcomes for both herself and her baby. Typically, prenatal women endure some degree of nausea and vomiting during their first 3 months of pregnancy. Modifying their diets during this time period can help alleviate symptoms so they can soon start focusing on their prenatal nutrition guidelines and desired weight gain.

However, some women experience such severe nausea and vomiting that they lose an unacceptable and potentially dangerous amount of weight in the first few weeks or months of their pregnancy. Consequently, this can pose serious health risks for both mom and baby.

In this crisis situation, the first and immediate goal is to stop her drastic weight loss. Additional interventions may be medically necessary, such as hospitalization, IV fluids, medications, etc. After successfully halting her weight loss, the next important objectives for her are to incorporate adequate amounts of nutritious foods and calories in her daily diet so she can regain her weight loss and then continue on this path of weight gain and optimal health. A pregnant woman who was initially within her ideal body weight range should gain about 25-35 pounds in 9 months. However, if this pregnant woman lost 20+ pounds during for the first trimester, despite her feeling and eating better, she may not achieve the total weight gain usually desired by the end of the pregnancy.

By understanding this scenario of a pregnant woman who endured severe symptoms and a major weight loss, one can gain insight into the challenging economic situation President Obama first encountered. His presidency started off like a VERY difficult pregnancy -- the hardest since FDR. A prenatal woman who was drastically losing 10-20 pounds/month was like the United States losing more than 700,000 jobs/ month! As the health care team tried to work with this woman and her family, the President tried to work with his advisers and Congress to develop a sound plan of action. Major strategies were implemented to end losses and stimulate improved health and growth. For this pregnant woman, weight loss diminished and then stopped! Similarly, for our country, the number of job losses decreased and then ceased! Currently, this prenatal woman is eating healthier, feeling better, recently surpassed her initial pre-pregnancy weight, and her weight gain is slowly continuing.

Likewise, President Obama's plan stopped the high rate of job losses, saved many teacher, police, fire-fighter and manufacturing jobs, and has been creating more jobs each month! Overall, these trends are positive! With only a few more months of pregnancy left she will be unable to gain the ideal amount of 25-35 pounds because she lost so much initially. However, she is now on the right path... and likewise, so is our country.

President Obama accomplished the critical economic goal to stop the high rate of job losses. For more than 2 1/2 years, his stimulus plan has been adding more jobs and the unemployment rate is declining, albeit slowly. The economic trends in job creation and a lower unemployment rate are not ideal but are realistic and encouraging, given the initial challenges we faced four years ago.

As previously stated, in January 2009 we started losing 700,000 jobs per month and recently, in September 2012, we added 114,000 jobs and our unemployment rate is at 7.8 percent, the lowest since Obama took office. A stronger economy is now emerging!

Evaluating President Obama's first term can be compared to this woman's pregnancy. Despite enduring an exceedingly challenging start, she has already achieved milestones that demonstrate healthier outcomes. We too, as a nation, have begun to meet important milestones in our economic recovery. Sometimes it takes time to get it right and show positive results, but it's worth the effort and worth the wait. A stronger, healthier economy is now within reach.