Gestational Weight Gain Linked to Infant Birth Weight

Risk of fetal macrosomia nearly doubled for pregnant women gaining over 40 pounds

MONDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of fetal macrosomia, or high birth weight, significantly increases with increasing maternal glycemia levels, and is nearly doubled among pregnant women with weight gain over 40 pounds, according to research published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Teresa A. Hillier, M.D., of the Center for Health Research at Kaiser Permanente Northwest in Portland, Ore., and colleagues performed a retrospective study of 41,540 women from the Northwest U.S. and Hawaii who were pregnant during the period from 1995 to 2003. All patients were screened for gestational diabetes mellitus with a glucose challenge test (GCT), and 6,397 patients who failed this screen received an additional glucose tolerance test.

The risk of fetal macrosomia significantly correlated with increasing level of maternal glycemia, and was much higher among women with excessive weight gain, regardless of glucose levels, the investigators found. Even women with excessive weight gain and the lowest glucose level following the GCT had a higher risk of fetal macrosomia (16.5 percent) than did women with confirmed and treated diabetes who gained less than 40 pounds during pregnancy (13.5 percent), they report.

"Clinicians should consider the importance of both maternal glucose and excessive pregnancy weight gain as potentially modifiable risk factors for fetal macrosomia," the authors conclude.

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