High Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked To Long Term Increased Maternal Body Fat

Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
New York, NY 10032

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Widen: The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Mothers and Newborns Study was started in 1998 and is based in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. Pregnant African American and Dominican mothers were enrolled from 1998 to 2006, and mothers and their children have been followed since this time. Pregnancy weight gain and maternal size and body fat was measured at seven years postpartum, allowing us to examine the role of nutrition in pregnancy on long-term maternal health. We found that high pregnancy weight gain, above the Institute of Medicine 2009 guidelines, was associated with long-term weight retention and higher body fat at seven years postpartum among women who began pregnancy with underweight, normal weight and modest overweight body mass index (BMI). These findings suggest that prepregnancy BMI and high pregnancy weight gain have long-term implications for maternal weight-related health, especially among mothers who begin pregnancy with lower prepregnancy BMI values.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Widen: Pregnant women and women planning pregnancy should talk to their health care provider about strategies to gain within the Institute of Medicine recommendations. We encourage health care providers to help their patients manage their pregnancy weight gain within the recommended ranges and also discuss how gaining too much weight during pregnancy can have long-term implications for later maternal health.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Widen: We found that high pregnancy weight gain was associated with higher body fat and greater weight retention at 7 years postpartum. Given that women with the same amount of total weight gain may have a different pattern of weight gain across pregnancy, future studies should examine the role of the pattern of weight gain in long-term maternal health. Future research is also needed to determine how to support women to gain within these guidelines.

Citation:

Excessive gestational weight gain is associated with long-term body fat and weight retention at 7 y postpartum in African American and Dominican mothers with underweight, normal, and overweight prepregnancy BMI. Elizabeth M. Widen, Robin M. Whyatt, Lori A. Hoepner, Judyth Ramirez-Carvey, Sharon E. Oberfield, Abeer Hassoun, Frederica P. Perera, Dympna Gallagher, Andrew G. Rundle. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015 Oct 21. pii: ajcn116939.

Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD (2015). High Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked To Long Term Increased Maternal Body Fat MedicalResearch.com