Excessive weight gain during pregnancy a predictor for above-average birth weight

April 17, 2012

One out of every two women of reproductive age is overweight or obese. Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, from the University of Ottawa (faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences) and from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute set out to discover if overweight or obese women are in fact more likely to give birth to above average weight babies, as reported in the Journal of Maternal Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.

"Obesity can become part of an intergenerational cycle," said Dr. Kristi Adamo, co-author of this report and co-founder of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO) Research Group at the CHEO Research Institute. " averages can be an indicator of the weight a child will carry through preschool and even into adulthood. It's critical for a mother to understand that her healthy eating and lifestyle decisions during pregnancy will impact much more than a nine-month gestation period."

To investigate this issue in more detail, Dr. Adamo and her colleagues examined data from more than 4,000 mother and baby pairs cared for at The Ottawa Hospital and the Kingston General Hospital between 2002 and 2009. They found that excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) can be just as problematic as pre-pregnancy . In fact, the study indicated that independent of pre-pregnancy (BMI), mothers who exceeded GWG recommendations specific to their pre-pregnancy BMI significantly increased the likelihood that their child would be born larger than average for gestational age (i.e. above the 90th percentile of infant weight for .)

"It doesn't matter if you're categorized as normal weight, overweight or obese during pre-pregnancy — exceeding the 2009 Institute of Medicine GWG targets seems to have a growth promoting effect on the fetus," explained the co-author Zach Ferraro, a PhD student in Dr. Adamo's lab and in the Human Kinetics doctoral program at the University of Ottawa. He is co-supervised by Dr. Denis Prud'homme, co-author of this report and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "Unfortunately, delivering a large baby increases the risk for many delivery-related complications in both mom and baby. But the takeaway here is that GWG is a modifiable risk factor that can and must be addressed during prenatal visits for all women."

Explore further: Pre-pregnancy BMI important indicator of offspring obesity

Related Stories

Pre-pregnancy BMI important indicator of offspring obesity

April 17, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy correlates with body mass index (BMI)-based overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity at age 16, but maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is ...

Excessive pregnancy weight gain raises the risk of having a fat baby

June 7, 2011
Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy tend to have newborns with a high amount of body fat, regardless of the mother's weight before pregnancy, a new study finds. The results will be presented Tuesday at The Endocrine ...

High pregnancy weight gain can lead to long-term obesity

May 18, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Gaining more than the recommended weight during pregnancy can put women at increased risk of becoming obese and developing related health problems, including high blood pressure, later in life.

Overweight moms with moderately high blood sugar raise health risk

April 11, 2012
Pregnant women who are overweight with moderately elevated blood sugar never set off any alarms for their physicians. The big concern was for women who were obese or who had gestational diabetes because those conditions are ...

Mothers' weight before and during pregnancy affects baby's weight

December 13, 2011
A new study published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (AOGS) reveals that both pre-pregnant weight (body mass index, BMI) and weight gain in pregnancy are important predictors of babies' birthweight. ...

Recommended for you

Womb natural killer cell discovery could lead to screening for miscarriage risk

December 14, 2017
For the first time the functions of natural killer cells in the womb have been identified.

Hormone discovery marks breakthough in understanding fertility

December 12, 2017
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have shown, for the first time, that a naturally occurring hormone plays a vital part in regulating a woman's fertility, a discovery that could lead to better diagnosis and treatment ...

Study reveals Viagra to be 'ineffective' for fetal growth restriction

December 8, 2017
A University of Liverpool led international clinical trial has found an anti-impotence drug to be ineffective at improving outcomes for pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction.

Obese first-time mums more likely to have premature babies

December 4, 2017
Obese women are up to three times more likely to have a premature child during their first pregnancy, according to a study from University College Dublin.

Stillbirth is not just stillbirth—more information is needed

December 4, 2017
Forty two babies are stillborn in Australia every week, and 60 per cent of them are recorded as "unexplained".

First baby from a uterus transplant in the US born in Dallas

December 2, 2017
The first birth as a result of a womb transplant in the United States has occurred in Texas, a milestone for the U.S. but one achieved several years ago in Sweden.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.