Does excess pregnancy weight gain constitute a major risk for increasing long-term BMI?

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 May;15(5):1278-86. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.149.


Objective: The objective was to assess the relevance of the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), regarding gestational weight gain (GWG) for long-term BMI development.

Research methods and procedures: The Stockholm Pregnancy and Women's Nutrition is a follow-up study of 483 women who delivered children in 1984 to 1985. ANOVA was used to examine the change in body weight before pregnancy, at 6 months, and 1 year postpartum and 15 years after childbirth. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the predictors of BMI at 15-year follow-up.

Results: The weight increase from baseline to 15-year follow-up was 6.2 kg for IOM-insufficient, 6.7 kg for IOM-recommended, and 10.0 kg for IOM-excessive weight gain (p < 0.01). ANOVA showed a main effect of time, group and group by time interaction. The weight of the women who had excessive GWG was significantly greater at each time-point of follow-up than the weight of those who gained within or below recommendations. GWG was related to BMI at 15-year follow-up even after accounting for several confounders. Women who gained excessive weight during pregnancy had an increase of 0.72 kg/m(2) in long-term BMI compared with women who gained within recommendations.

Discussion: The findings support the adequateness of IOM guidelines, not only for the pregnancy-related health matters, but also for preventing long-term weight retention after delivery. Healthcare providers should give women appropriate advice for controlling GWG and motivate them to lose pregnancy-related weight during postpartum to prevent future overweight.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Patient Selection
  • Postpartum Period / physiology
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain / physiology*