News article

Inadequate Pregnancy Weight Gain a Risk Factor for Infant Mortality

Posted:  Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dec. 19, 2013 — Women who do not gain enough weight during pregnancy are at increased risk of losing their baby in its first year of life, according to a new study by researchers in the University of Maryland School of Public Health. This study examined the relationship between gestational weight gain, mothers' body mass index (BMI) before and during pregnancy, and infant mortality rates.

One-quarter of the more than 159,000 women in the study gained too little weight during pregnancy, and these mothers were more likely to give birth to babies who died in infancy than the women who gained a normal or even excessive amount of weight during pregnancy. The study is published in the American Journal of Public Health and was conducted by Dr. Regina Davis, associate executive director of the American Public Health Association; Dr. Sandra Hofferth, professor; and Dr. Edmond Shenassa, associate professor. All three are affiliated with UMD's Maternal and Child Health Program in the Department of Family Science. Hofferth and Shenassa are also faculty associates of UMD's Maryland Population Research Center.

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