Objectives: This study was undertaken to determine the influences of increased maternal prepregnancy weight and increased gestational weight gain on pregnancy outcome.
Study design: This was a longitudinal retrospective study of 7407 term pregnancies delivered from 1987 through 1989. After excluding cases with multiple fetuses, stillbirths, fetal anomalies, no prenatal care, selected medical and surgical complications, and those with incomplete medical records, 3191 cases remained for analyses by determination of odds ratios for obstetric outcomes, by chi 2 tests for significant differences and by adjustment for risk factors with stepwise logistic regression.
Results: Both increased maternal prepregnancy weight (body mass index) and increased maternal gestational weight gain were associated with increased risks of fetal macrosomia (p less than 0.0001), labor abnormalities (p less than 0.0001), postdatism (p = 0.002), meconium staining (p less than 0.001), and unscheduled cesarean sections (p less than 0.0001). They were also associated with decreased frequencies of low birth weight (p less than 0.001). The magnitude of the last was less than that of the other outcomes.
Conclusions: Increased maternal weight gain in pregnancy results in higher frequencies of fetal macrosomia, which in turn lead to increased rates of cesarean section and other major maternal and fetal complications. Because these costs of increased maternal weight gain appear to outweigh benefits, weight gain recommendations for pregnancy warrant careful review.