Too Much Weight Gain in Pregnancy Linked to Chubby Babies

TUESDAY June 7, 2011 -- Women who gain an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy tend to have chubbier babies, a possible risk factor for childhood obesity, new research suggests.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that normal weight women gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Overweight women should keep weight gain between 15 and 25 pounds, while obese women should limit weight gain to 11 to 20 pounds.

The study included 56 women -- 31 whose pregnancy weight gain fell within the guidelines and 25 who gained too much. None of the women had gestational diabetes.

Researchers tested infant's body fat within 48 hours of delivery using what they say is a newer, more accurate technique.

Babies born to women who exceeded the guidelines had 17.5 ounces of body fat compared to 13.9 ounces among newborns of women whose weight gain fell within the guidelines.

Researchers noted the link between pregnancy weight gain and baby's body fat regardless of the women's weight before becoming pregnant, although women who were obese before pregnancy were more likely to exceed the weight gain guidelines.

About 70 percent of obese women exceeded the weight gain recommendations compared to 31 percent of normal weight women.

The study was to be presented Tuesday at The Endocrine's Society's 93rd annual meeting in Boston.

"Excessive weight gain during pregnancy, regardless of pre-pregnancy weight, is an important risk factor for newborn obesity," said the study's principal investigator, Dr. Jami Josefson, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Memorial Hospital and assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, in a news release from The Endocrine Society. "More research is needed to determine if high amounts of fat at birth are associated with high amounts of fat in childhood."

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The National Women's Health Information Center has more information on complications during pregnancy.

Posted: June 2011


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