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Impact of Inadequate Gestational Weight Gain Explored

For overweight, obese women, lower bound of optimal gestational weight gain ranges are higher than existing recommendations

THURSDAY, Dec. 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Inadequate gestational weight gain (GWG) is associated with an increased risk for adverse infant outcomes, even among women with obesity, according to a study published online Dec. 30 in JAMA Network Open.

Lijun Wang, Ph.D., from Guangxi Medical University in Nanning, China, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using U.S. nationwide linked birth and infant death data between 2011 and 2015. The associations of GWG with infant morbidity and mortality were examined, and optimal GWG ranges associated with a reduced risk for both outcomes were identified.

Data were included for 15,759,945 mother-infant dyads. The researchers found that 8.8 percent of the newborns experienced significant morbidity, with the lowest and highest prevalence among women in the normal-weight and class 3 obesity body mass index classes, respectively (8.0 and 12.4 percent, respectively). Within one year of birth, 0.34 percent of infants died, with the lowest and highest prevalence among normal-weight women and those with class 3 obesity, respectively (0.28 and 0.58 percent, respectively). For underweight and normal-weight women, overweight women, and those with class 1, 2, and 3 obesity, the optimal GWG ranges were 12.0 to <24.0 kg, 10.0 to <20.0 kg, 8.0 to <16.0 kg, 6.0 to <16.0 kg, and 6.0 to <10.0 kg, respectively. For overweight women and those with obesity, the lower bounds of the optimal GWG ranges were higher than existing recommendations.

“The study findings would, however, make clinicians more aware of the possible harm of increased infant morbidity and mortality associated with inadequate GWG, which may occur independently of preterm delivery and intrauterine growth restriction,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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