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Now weight gain cut-offs for obese pregnant women

Posted:  Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Pregnancy is always accompanied by weight gain. However, pregnant women with obesity may put themselves and their pregnancy at risk by piling on additional pounds. The query as to what can be done in such a scenario remains unresolved. Now, a new American research has provided reference values for pregnancy weight gain among women with class II obesity (body mass index or BMI 35-39.9) and class III obesity (BMI ≥40). The research suggests that such women should not gain any weight until mid pregnancy or later.

Published in the journal Obesity, the study evaluated serial weight measurements from more than 4,000 women with a pre-pregnancy BMI ≥25 during the period 1998 to 2010. The women were categorised as overweight or obese and all of them had uncomplicated full-term pregnancies and deliveries.

Based on these results, the researchers suggested staggered weight gain in mid or later half of pregnancy. They even categorised their recommendations according to the class of obesity as class I obesity (BMI ≥30), class II obesity (BMI 35-39.9) and class III obesity (BMI ≥40).

"Monitoring weight gain during pregnancy is key for optimal outcomes, and this is the first time we've had a glimpse of reference points for women with class II and class III obesity. With these data, we are a step closer to developing a more comprehensive understanding of safe and healthy levels of weight gain for women with different classes of obesity during pregnancy," commented the researchers.

The current guidelines for gestational weight gain do not recommend lower targets for women with severe degrees of obesity. Pregnant women with obesity could be at a higher risk for complications such as gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, preeclampsia, caesarean delivery and postpartum weight retention. Children born to obese pregnant mothers are at higher risks of prematurity, stillbirth, congenital anomalies, macrosomia and childhood obesity. The data from this study could be the first step to developing guidelines for pregnant women with obesity to minimise the risks associated with pregnancy outcomes

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