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Horm Res. 1993;39 Suppl 3:59-67.

Maternal growth during pregnancy and lactation.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Camden 08103.


Until recently, it was widely accepted that the small amount of statural growth observed in young gravidas was unlikely to be clinically significant, to alter maternal nutritional status, or to threaten fetal growth. We show that this belief reflects incomplete information about growth and the use of inappropriate measuring techniques by investigators. We have done this using illustrations drawn primarily from the Camden Study, a controlled, prospective study of nutrition and growth during adolescent pregnancy. Maternal growth during pregnancy is prevalent and associated with increased gestational weight gain. In the postpartum period it is associated with increased triceps skinfolds, arm fat area and weight retention, all of which occur at caloric intakes comparable with those of pregnant, non-growing adolescents and mature women. Unlike pregnancy where research is continuing, the sequelae of maternal growth during lactation are virtually unstudied.

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