Excess Gestational Weight Gain Linked to Long-Term Issues

High weight gain linked to risk of large-for-gestational-age, C-section, child overweight

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Gaining an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy may have long-term effects on mothers' and children's body sizes, but the benefits of lower gains should be balanced against the risk of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) births, according to research published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Claire E. Margerison Zilko, of the University of California in Berkeley, and colleagues analyzed data from 4,496 births in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979.

The researchers found that gestational weight gain was associated with a lower risk of SGA and a higher risk of large-for-gestational-age (LGA), cesarean delivery, postpartum weight retention, and child overweight. Gaining more than the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) 2009 guidelines (11.5 to 16 kg for normal-weight women, 5 to 9 kg for obese women) was associated with a lower risk of SGA and a higher risk of all other outcomes.

"Our results indicate that women who gain within the IOM's body mass index-specific guidelines have lower odds of all of the studied outcomes, compared with those women who gain outside the recommended range. However, our results also suggest that higher than recommended gains may help prevent SGA in underweight women, although lower than recommended gains in overweight and obese women may reduce risk of LGA, child overweight, and postpartum weight retention," the authors write.

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Eric Metcalf

Eric Metcalf

Published on June 24, 2010

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