Gestational weight gain (GWG) in pregnancy has become an important issue in modern obstetrics. Concerns about rising obesity levels and the effect of excessive GWG are so great that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has published new guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to prospectively analyse GWG according to the IOM recommendations for each BMI category.
Maternal weight and height were measured and BMI calculated in early pregnancy. Women were recruited at term, weight was measured and GWG calculated. The IOM recommends GWG of 12.7–18.1kg for normal weight, 11.4–15.9kg for overweight and 5.0–9.1kg for obese women. At recruitment women were asked whether they received advice about GWG from a healthcare provider.
Of the 604 women enrolled the mean age was 29.5 (5.1) years, the mean parity was 0.8 (SD1.0) and the mean BMI was 26.7 (5.6) kg/m2. The mean GWG was 12.6 (5.7) kg, 11.9 (5.2) kg, and 9.3 (6.6) kg for normal weight, overweight and obese women respectively. Appropriate GWG occurred in 32.9%, 34.1% and 28.1% of the groups respectively. More than the recommended GWG occurred in 10.7%, 20.1% and 53.8% of normal weight, overweight and obese women respectively. Only 6.5% of women received advice on GWG by a healthcare professional.
We found that despite lower mean GWG one third of overweight and obese women attending our antenatal services gained more than the IOM recommendations for GWG. Furthermore, very few women received advice regarding GWG in pregnancy.
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