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Women Who Gain Excessive Weight During Pregnancy More Likely to Have Overweight Children
Date:6/8/2008

gnancy. Women at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight are encouraged to gain 25 to 35 pounds, while women who are overweight should stay between 15 to 25 pounds. Women who are underweight should gain more weight during pregnancy -- between 28 and 40 pounds.

Of the women studied by the researchers, 11 percent gained excessive weight, 24 percent gained adequate weight and 65 percent gained insufficient weight. Today, said the researchers, these proportions would be very different, with almost one in two women gaining more weight than recommended during pregnancy.

The authors say that encouraging pregnant women to adopt healthy eating practices and engage in aerobic physical activity could help them achieve appropriate weight gain and also help prevent obesity in their children. They add that benefits would likewise result from healthy eating and exercise before becoming pregnant, as well as reducing postpartum weight retention before a subsequent pregnancy.

Using the IOM guidelines, children whose mothers exceeded the recommended weight gain were 48 percent more likely to be overweight than children whose mothers stayed within the recommended weight gain. The risk of overweight was similar for children born of women who gained insufficient weight compared with mothers who gained appropriate weight during pregnancy.

The researchers add that more research is necessary to clarify whether the association between greater gestational weight gain and increased odds of overweight in offspring is causal, and whether it exists in today's environment of increasing obesity.

Dr. Wrotniak's coauthors were Justine Shults, Ph.D., of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Samantha Butts, M.D., M.S.C.E., of the Division of Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E., of Children's Hospital and
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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