Comparison of national gestational weight gain guidelines and energy intake recommendations

Obes Rev. 2013 Jan;14(1):68-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01059.x. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


Although data showing adverse effects with high and low gestational weight gain (GWG) come from a large number of countries, a variety of guidelines about the GWG exist. Our objectives were to compare existing GWG and energy recommendations across various countries, as well as the rationale or evidence on which they were based. We used the United Nations' Human Developmental Index to determine the ranking of the country to ensure broad sampling and then searched for guidelines. We first searched the national government websites, and if necessary searched Medline and EMBASE, Global Health databases, and bibliographies of published articles for both guidelines and the studies on which they were based. We found guidelines for 31% of the countries, and 59% of these had a GWG recommendation, 68% had an energy intake recommendation (EIR), and 36% had both. About half of the GWG guidelines are similar to the 2009 American Institutes of Medicine (IOM) and 73% of the EIRs are similar to the 2006 IOM. Despite the documented relationship between both high GWG and adverse outcomes for women and infants and low GWG and adverse outcomes in infants, there are a wide variety of guidelines for GWG and energy recommendations by different countries around the world.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care
  • Weight Gain / physiology*