Correlates of absolute and excessive weight gain during pregnancy

Ellen Althuizen, Mireille Nm van Poppel, Jacob C Seidell, Willem van Mechelen

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OBJECTIVE: Factors associated with weight gain during pregnancy that may be linked to maternal overweight and obesity were examined.

METHODS: In this observational study, 144 women reported on demographics, (prepregnancy) body weight, and lifestyles in self-reported questionnaires at 30 weeks gestation. Body weight at the end of pregnancy (self-reported at 6 weeks postpartum) was used to determine total gestational weight gain. Multivariate prediction models were developed to identify factors associated with total gestational weight gain and excessive gestational weight gain (i.e., higher weight gain than recommended by the Institute of Medicine).

RESULTS: Women gained 14.4 (+/-5.0) kg during pregnancy. Obese women gained almost 4 kg less than normal weight women. Pregnant women judging themselves to be less physically active or women who reported increased food intakes during pregnancy gained significantly more weight. Over one third of women (38%) gained more weight than recommended. Being overweight, judging yourself to be less physically active than others, and a perceived elevated food intake during pregnancy were significantly associated with excessive weight gain (odds ratio [OR] = 6.33, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.01-19.32; OR = 3.96, 95% CI: 1.55l, 10.15; and OR = 3.14, 95% CI: 1.18, 8.36, respectively). A higher age at menarche and hours of sleep reduced the odds for excessive weight gain (OR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.57, 0.99; and OR = 0.35, 95% CI: 0.57, 0.93, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Mean hours of sleep, perceived physical activity, and measures of food intake at 30 weeks gestation were identified as modifiable behavioral correlates for excessive gestational weight gain. Strategies to optimize gestational weight gain need to be explored, with a focus on the identified factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1559-66
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Obesity
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • United States
  • Weight Gain
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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