Background: The weight gain during pregnancy is influenced by maternal body weight and height and is an important determinant of maternal and neonatal health. In this study we present standard values for the weight gain in pregnancy depending on maternal weight and height.
Materials and methods: Data of about 2.3 million singleton pregnancies were taken from the German perinatal statistics of 1995-2000. The data were analysed with regard to maternal height, weight and weight gain in pregnancy. The weight gain during pregnancy was calculated as the difference between the weight at the end of pregnancy and the weight at first consultation.
Results: We divided the pregnant women into 12 groups according to weight and height and calculated the standard values for the weight gain for these groups. Weight gain differs significantly between the groups. The most pronounced difference appears when the group of the relatively heavy and short women is compared to the group of the relatively tall and thin women. The former gain comparatively little weight during pregnancy and the latter gain rather more.
Conclusions: Height and body weight are important determinants of the weight gain during pregnancy. They should therefore be used when assessing the weight gain in clinical practice. With the standard values introduced here such an assessment is possible.