Health Status > Maternal Health
Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Weight gain during pregnancy is an important factor
in pregnancy outcome. Inadequate weight gain has been associated
with increased risk of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR),
preterm birth, low birth weight, and perinatal mortality.
Excessive weight gain can also have a negative impact on
pregnancy outcome, including elevated risk of a large-for-gestational-age
infant, cesarean delivery, and long-term maternal weight
retention. In 1990, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) developed
a set of recommendations for maternal weight gain based
on the pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI) of the mother.
The guidelines advise that those with a BMI of less than
19.8 gain 28 to 40 pounds, those with a BMI of 19.8–26.0
gain 25 to 35 pounds, and those with a BMI of 26.1–29.0
gain 15 to 25 pounds. There are currently no recommendations
for women who have a BMI of 29.1 or greater. The IOM convened
a workshop in 2006 to assess the impact of pregnancy weight
on maternal and child health, and a report from that workshop
was released in February 2007.
Data from the National Vital Statistics System
show that 13.0 percent of women gained fewer
than 16 pounds during pregnancy in 2004; this
was most common among non-Hispanic Black
women (19.0 percent). Another 20.0 percent of
all pregnant women gained more than
40 pounds, which was most common among
non-Hispanic White women (22.2 percent).
These data suggest that approximately one-third
of women had weight gain outside the
recommended guidelines; however, this does not
account for pre-pregnancy BMI or gestational
age. Analyses of other national data sets suggest
that approximately two-thirds of women experience
weight gain outside of the IOM guidelines.