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Matern Child Health J. 2012 Feb;16(2):406-13. doi: 10.1007/s10995-011-0775-z.

Association between gestational weight gain according to body mass index and postpartum weight in a large cohort of Danish women.

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Department of Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound 4002, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


Our aim was to investigate the association between gestational weight gain (GWG) and postpartum weight retention (PWR) in pre-pregnancy underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese women, with emphasis on the American Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations. We performed secondary analyses on data based on questionnaires from 1,898 women from the "Smoke-free Newborn Study" conducted 1996-1999 at Hvidovre Hospital, Denmark. Relationship between GWG and PWR was examined according to BMI as a continuous variable and in four groups. Association between PWR and GWG according to IOM recommendations was tested by linear regression analysis and the association between PWR ≥ 5 kg (11 lbs) and GWG by logistic regression analysis. Mean GWG and mean PWR were constant for all BMI units until 26-27 kg/m(2). After this cut-off mean GWG and mean PWR decreased with increasing BMI. Nearly 40% of normal weight, 60% of overweight and 50% of obese women gained more than recommended during pregnancy. For normal weight and overweight women with GWG above recommendations the OR of gaining ≥ 5 kg (11 lbs) 1-year postpartum was 2.8 (95% CI 2.0-4.0) and 2.8 (95% CI 1.3-6.2, respectively) compared to women with GWG within recommendations. GWG above IOM recommendations significantly increases normal weight, overweight and obese women's risk of retaining weight 1 year after delivery. Health personnel face a challenge in prenatal counseling as 40-60% of these women gain more weight than recommended for their BMI. As GWG is potentially modifiable, our study should be followed by intervention studies focusing on GW.

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