About Half of U.S. Women Gain Too Much Weight While Pregnant

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obase pregnant womenAccording to research published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, only 32.1% of pregnant women who gave birth in the U.S. in 2012 and 2013 kept their gestational weight gain (GWG) within the range recommended by the Institute of Medicine.

Approximately one in five women gained inadequate weight, which can increase the risk of low-birth weight babies. But about half of pregnant women gained too much weight, which emphasizes the need for parental interventions.

Nicholas Deputy, a research fellow at the Centers for Disease and Prevention Division of Reproductive Health, suggested that the high occurrence of excessive GWG is of concern since significant GWG “increases the risk for macrosomia, postpartum weight retention, and obesity in mothers and possibly children.”

Earlier this year, Deputy reported that 20.9% of pregnant women in the U.S. gained less than the recommended amount of weight, 32% gained the recommended amount, and 47.2% gained more than the recommended amount (although the study didn’t analyze the frequency by state).

To analyze the state-specific prevalence of GWG in comparison to the Institute of Medicine recommendations, researchers looked at 2013 birth data for U.S. women who delivered full-term from 43 jurisdictions that utilized the 2003 revised birth certificate. These revised certificates contain information such as delivery weight, maternal height, and pre-pregnancy weight.

The team also studied 2012 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System for five states that did not implement the 2003 birth certificate.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended range for GWG is 28 to 40 pounds for underweight women, 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women, 25 to 35 pounds for women with normal weight, and 11 to 20 pounds for obese women.

Researchers discovered that 12.6% to 25.5% of women developed inadequate weight, 26.2% to 39.0% maintained appropriate weight, and 38.2% to 54.7% gained excessive weight. The occurrence of inadequate weight was 20% or higher in 20 states and New York City; the prevalence of excessive GWG was 50% or higher in 17 states.

Based on their findings, study authors are calling for intensified strategies to help women achieve suitable GWG.

Source for Today’s Article:
Swift, D., “Few Pregnant Women Stay in Recommended Range for Weight Gain,” Medscape web site; November 6, 2015; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/854037.