Gestational Weight Gain Guidelines Questioned

Institute of Medicine recommendations may result in worse outcomes for heavier women

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy may be appropriate for underweight or normal-weight women, but overweight and obese women may have better outcomes if they adhere to different gestational weight gain recommendations, according to research published in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Andreas Beyerlein, Ph.D., of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich in Germany, and colleagues compared pregnancy outcome risks using the IOM criteria for gestational weight gain and empirically established average ranges for gestational weight gain in a population-based cohort of 678,560 singleton deliveries.

The researchers found that adherence to IOM criteria was significantly associated with a reduction in preterm deliveries and small-for-gestational-age births to underweight or normal-weight women, but that the risks for gestational diabetes, small-for-gestational-age births, preterm delivery, and perinatal mortality were higher in overweight or obese women who gained weight according to IOM criteria, though they had less preeclampsia and fewer non-elective cesarean deliveries. The prevalence for preterm delivery in overweight women who gained weight within IOM criteria was 8.14 percent, versus 5.77 percent for those who gained weight within their respective interquartile range.

"Although underweight and normal-weight women should be encouraged to aim for a gestational weight gain according to IOM guidelines, different gestational weight gain recommendations in overweight and obese women might lessen some adverse short-term pregnancy outcomes," the authors write.

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