Prepregnancy Weight Affects Targeted Gain
Overweight Women May Set Target Pregnancy Weight Gain Too High
WebMD News Archive
March 4, 2005 -- Overweight women tend to set their target pregnancy weight
gain too high, while underweight women may be setting their targets too low,
according to a new study.
Researchers found that overweight and obese women were four times more
likely to report target pregnancy weight gain above recommended levels.
Meanwhile, underweight women were also more likely to set their target
pregnancy weight gain too low.
Women who gain pregnancy-related weight above or below recommended
guidelines have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as prolonged
labor, preterm labor, increased risk of caesarean delivery, diabetes, low or
excessive birth weight, or stillbirth.
Researchers say they studied the effects of prepregnancy weight on reported
target pregnancy weight gain rather than actual weight gain because a woman's
target pregnancy weight gain is potentially modifiable and has been strongly
associated with her actual weight gain.
They say the results indicate many women report receiving incorrect advice
about appropriate pregnancy weight gain and greater efforts are needed to
inform women about recommended levels.
In 1990, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued guidelines for weight gain
during pregnancy based on a woman's prepregnancy body mass index (BMI, a
measure of height in relation to weight). In general, leaner women are advised
to gain more pregnancy-related weight, and heavier women are advised to gain
Recommended Pregnancy Weight Gain
|BMI Before Pregnancy:||Recommended Weight Gain:|
|< 19.8 (low)||28-40 pounds|
|19.8-26.0 (normal)||25-35 pounds|
|26.1-29.0 (high)||15-25 pounds|
|> 29.0 (obese)||15 pounds or less|
In the study, researchers looked at factors affecting the target pregnancy
weight gain reported by nearly 1,500 in the San Francisco Bay-area women.
The results showed that the women's prepregnancy BMI was the strongest
predictor of target weight gain.
Women with low or high prepregnancy BMI (underweight and overweight women)
were much more likely to report a target weight gain that did not fall within
the IOM guidelines compared with women of normal prepregnancy BMI.
For example, 24% of overweight women reported a target weight gain above the
guidelines compared with only 4% of normal-weight women. In addition, 51% of
underweight women reported a target weight gain below the guidelines versus 10%
of normal-weight women.
Other factors associated with people who reported a target weight gain above
the IOM guidelines were:
- Younger age
- Health care provider advice to gain above the guidelines
- Having previous children
Additional factors linked to reporting a low target weight gain
- Latina race or ethnicity
- Low educational status
- Health care provider advice to gain below guidelines
- Lack of health care provider advice
Researchers say the results show that women's target pregnancy weight gain
is strongly influenced by her prepregnancy weight status. But health care
providers should also pay closer attention to the IOM guidelines in advising
their patients about target pregnancy weight gain based on their BMI.