The effect of gestational weight gain by body mass index on maternal and neonatal outcomes

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2009 Jan;31(1):28-35. doi: 10.1016/s1701-2163(16)34050-6.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of gestational weight gain on maternal and neonatal outcomes in different body mass index (BMI) classes.

Methods: We compared maternal and neonatal outcomes based on gestational weight gain in underweight, normal weight, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese (BMI>or=40.00) women. The study group was a population-based cohort of women with singleton gestations who delivered between April 1, 2001, and March 31, 2007, drawn from the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Perinatal Program Database. Univariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression analyses (controlling for maternal age, parity, smoking status, partnered status, and gestational age) were performed and odds ratios (ORs) were calculated.

Results: Only 30.6% of women gained the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy; 52.3% of women gained more than recommended, and 17.1% gained less than recommended. In women with normal pre-pregnancy BMI, excess weight gain was associated with increased rates of gestational hypertension (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.08-1.49), augmentation of labour (OR 1.09; 95% CI 1.01-1.18), and birth weight>or=4000 g (OR 1.21; 95% CI 1.10-1.34). In overweight women, excess weight gain was associated with increased rates of gestational hypertension (OR 1.31; 95% CI 1.10-1.55) and birth weight>or=4000 g (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.15-1.47). In women who were obese or morbidly obese, excess weight gain was associated with increased rates of birth weight>or=4000 g (OR 1.20; 95% CI 1.07-1.34) and neonatal metabolic abnormality (OR 1.31; 95% CI 1.00-1.70). In morbidly obese women, poor weight gain was associated with less use of epidural analgesia (OR 0.34; 95% CI 0.12-0.95). In women who were of normal weight, overweight, or obese, the rate of adverse outcome (Caesarean section, gestational hypertension, birth weight<2500 g or birth weight>or=4000 g) was lower in women with recommended weight gain than in those with excess weight gain. Adverse outcomes were reduced in nulliparous morbidly obese women who had poor weight gain (OR 0.18; 95% CI 0.04-0.83).

Conclusion: The effects of gestational weight gain on pregnancy outcome depend on the woman's pre-pregnancy BMI. Pregnancy weight gains of 6.7-11.2 kg (15-25 lb) in overweight and obese women, and less than 6.7 kg (15 lb) in morbidly obese women are associated with a reduction in the risk of adverse outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Odds Ratio
  • Overweight / complications
  • Parity
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Risk Factors
  • Thinness / complications*
  • Weight Gain / physiology*