Greater Neonatal Fat-Free Mass and Similar Fat Mass Following a Randomized Trial to Control Excess Gestational Weight Gain

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Mar;26(3):578-587. doi: 10.1002/oby.22079.


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of controlling maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) in the second and third trimesters on neonate body composition.

Methods: Two hundred ten healthy women with overweight (25 > BMI < 30) or obesity (BMI ≥ 30) were randomly assigned to a lifestyle intervention (LI) program focused on controlling GWG through nutrition and activity behaviors or to usual obstetrical care (UC). Infant fat and fat-free mass (FFM) at birth were measured by using air displacement plethysmography (PEA POD) and by using quantitative magnetic resonance (QMR).

Results: At baseline, there were no between-group differences in maternal characteristics (mean [SD]): age: 33.8 (4.3) years, weight: 81.9 (13.7) kg, BMI: 30.4 (4.5), and gestational age at randomization: 14.9 (0.8) weeks. GWG was less in the LI group by 1.79 kg (P = 0.003) or 0.0501 kg/wk (P = 0.002). Compared with UC infants, LI infants had greater weight (131 ± 59 g P = 0.03), FFM (98 ± 45 g; P = 0.03) measured by PEA POD, and lean mass (105 ± 38 g; P = 0.006) measured by QMR. Fat mass and percent fat were not significantly different.

Conclusions: Intervening in women with overweight and obesity through behaviors promoting healthy diet and physical activity to control GWG resulted in neonates with similar fat and greater FFM.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Weight Gain / physiology*