NICHD Spotlight Interview with Cathy Spong: Summarizing the Pregnancy and Weight Gain Study


Dr. Catherine Spong: This was a study that
was undertaken in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit Network, which is a network of clinical sites across
the United States that does studies and trials
in pregnancy, especially in high-risk pregnancies. One of the important things to remember
about when you look at the results from this study looking
at weight gain is it’s only– the data is only in women in their first
pregnancy who were healthy. So they didn’t have other health problems, such as hypertension or diabetes. They weren’t carrying multi-fetal
gestations. And they weren’t someone in their second or third or fourth pregnancy. We–in about 9,000 women, we had information
on their pre-pregnancy weight as well as their weight
gain during pregnancy and were able to evaluate how
pregnancy weight gain affected their outcome. And what we found was that, in fact, about
three out of four women gained more weight than would be
recommended by the 2009 Institute of Medicine
guidelines. Only about 1 out of 10 women actually gained within the guidelines. Women who gained excessive weight had more
pregnancy complications, including hypertension in
pregnancy, cesarean deliveries, and delivering a baby
who’s large. And these increases were pretty dramatic. For example, it was about 32 percent of
women who had high blood pressure in pregnancy if they gained
excessive weight compared to only about 20 percent of women
who did not gain excessive weight. So significant increases in adverse outcomes
in pregnancy with excessive weight gain.

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