New research conducted at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh is the first to provide reference values for pregnancy weight gain in women with various classes of obesity based on body mass index (BMI), and suggests that women with obesity should not gain any weight until mid-pregnancy or later.
Lead author Dr. Jennifer Hutcheon said, "Research shows that pregnant women with obesity are at increased risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, preeclampsia, cesarean delivery and postpartum weight retention. Similarly, children born to pregnant women with obesity face higher risks of prematurity, stillbirth, congenital anomalies, macrosomia with possible birth injury and childhood obesity. These known risks reinforce the need to closely monitor weight gain during pregnancy for women with obesity, which reduces risks and can lead to better outcomes."
The current gestational weight-gain guidelines by the Institute of Medicine do not recommend lower targets for women with more severe degrees of obesity, citing a lack of sufficient data regarding short-term and long-term maternal and newborn outcomes. This new study provides data that have the potential to aid in the development of national reference values for optimal gestational weight gain for pregnancy among women who have higher classes of obesity including class II obesity (BMI 35-39.9) and class III obesity (BMI >40).
Dr.Hutcheon said, "Monitoring weight gain during pregnancy is key for optimal outcomes, and this is the first time we've had a glimpse of reference points for women with class II and class III obesity. With these data, we are a step closer to developing a more comprehensive understanding of safe and healthy levels of weight gain for women with different classes of obesity during pregnancy."
The research is published in 'Obesity'.