Gestational weight gain and birth outcome in relation to prepregnancy body mass index and ethnicity.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The obesity epidemic raises concerns about the impact of excessive and insufficient weight gain during pregnancy.


We examined the association between gestational weight gain (GWG) and preterm birth, term small- and large-for-gestational-age (SGA and LGA), term birthweight, and term primary Cesarean delivery, considering prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and ethnicity in a cohort of 33,872 New York City residents who gave birth between 1995 and 2003 and delivered in hospitals elsewhere in New York State.


Preterm birth (<37 weeks' gestation) showed a modest U-shaped relationship, with projected GWG of <10 kg and 20+ kg associated with odds ratios of 1.4 and 1.3, respectively, relative to 10 to 14 kg. The pattern was stronger for preterm birth <32 weeks' and for underweight women with low GWG and overweight/obese women with high GWG. Term SGA decreased and term LGA and birthweight increased monotonically with increasing GWG. Primary Cesarean delivery followed the same pattern as LGA, but less strongly.


Although the study is limited by potential selection bias and measurement error, our findings support the contention that GWG may be a modifiable predictor of pregnancy outcome that warrants further investigation, particularly randomized trials, to assess whether the relation is causal.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Savitz, DA; Stein, CR; Siega-Riz, AM; Herring, AH

Published Date

  • February 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 78 - 85

PubMed ID

  • 20702110

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC3586213

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2585

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1047-2797

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.annepidem.2010.06.009


  • eng