Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inadequate pregnancy weight gain a risk factor for infant mortality

Date:
December 19, 2013
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
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. Gaining more weight than recommended was not a risk factor for infant mortality, but may be related to subsequent maternal health problems. Study authors urge that childbearing women have pregnancy weight gain goals specific to their BMI.

Recommendations for Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Study findings show that women who gain too little weight during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to babies who die in infancy.
Credit: University of Maryland

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.

"Our study showed that gaining too little weight during pregnancy is a risk factor for infant mortality for all but the heaviest women," explained Dr. Davis. Gaining more weight than recommended was not a risk factor for infant mortality, but may be related to subsequent maternal health problems. "It is important that childbearing women have pregnancy weight gain goals that are specific to their individual BMI," added Dr. Hofferth, the study's senior author.

According to guidelines published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), underweight women should gain between 28 and 40 pounds during pregnancy, while normal weight women are expected to gain 25-35 pounds, overweight women 15-25 pounds, and obese women 11-20 pounds. Results from this study showed that only about a third of women gained an amount of weight that was within the recommended guidelines for their body size. Nearly 25 percent of the women in the study gained an inadequate amount of weight, while another 41 percent gained too much.

Davis, Hofferth, and Shenassa analyzed data collected from 159,244 mothers who gave birth to live, single babies between 2004 and 2008 in order to determine whether there was a link between gestational weight gain (GWG), mothers' body mass index (BMI), and infant mortality. The women in the study responded to telephone or written questionnaires within nine months after their babies' birth, and their information was recorded in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) for use by future researchers. The study team analyzed the PRAMS data to learn whether mothers' BMI before and during pregnancy might alter the influence of GWG on infant mortality.

Infant mortality risks in the study sample were 3.9 percent among infants of mothers who gained an inadequate amount of weight during pregnancy, 1.2 percent among infants of mothers who gained an adequate amount of weight, and .7 percent among mothers who gained more than the recommended amount. Mothers' pre-pregnancy BMI was also a key factor in infant survival. Mothers who were underweight before pregnancy and gained too little weight during pregnancy had six times the normal rate of infant mortality. Even among overweight women, inadequate weight gain was associated with a two-fold elevation in the risk of mortality. Only children born to obese women were protected from the effects of inadequate weight gain. In contrast, gaining more than the recommended amount of weight was not associated with risk to the infant among mothers in any weight category. Obese mothers who gained an excessive amount of weight actually had a 49 percent reduced likelihood of infant death.

This study confirms that only about a third of women in the U.S. gain weight during pregnancy that is within the recommended range. In order to improve the likelihood of healthy outcomes for mothers and infants, healthcare providers should provide childbearing women with gestational weight gain goals that are specific to their individual BMI. Pregnant women can help ensure the health of their infants by monitoring their weight gain, eating an appropriate amount of healthy foods, and engaging in reasonable physical activity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Regina R. Davis, Sandra L. Hofferth, Edmond D. Shenassa. Gestational Weight Gain and Risk of Infant Death in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 2013; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301425

Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "Inadequate pregnancy weight gain a risk factor for infant mortality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219162944.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2013, December 19). Inadequate pregnancy weight gain a risk factor for infant mortality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219162944.htm
University of Maryland. "Inadequate pregnancy weight gain a risk factor for infant mortality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131219162944.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Who Could Be Burnt by WHO's E-Cigs Move?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 28, 2014) The World Health Organisation has called for the regulation of electronic cigarettes as both tobacco and medical products. Ciara Lee looks at the impact of the move on the tobacco industry. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins