Maternal Weight Gain During Pregnancy and Obesity in the Offspring

Part of the Endocrine Updates book series (ENDO, volume 30)


The amount of weight women gain during pregnancy may be a modifiable risk factor for childhood obesity in the next generation. Women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy have children that are more likely to be overweight from infancy through adolescence. The Institute of Medicine has issued guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy that recommend lower weight gain for women of higher pre-pregnancy BMI; however, nearly half of obese women and over 60% of overweight women in the United States are gaining above the recommended range. The optimal amount of weight gain for obese pregnant women remains controversial. When considering the optimal weight gain for obese women, the risks of low birthweight infants are balanced against risks of fetal overgrowth, maternal metabolic disorders, childbirth complications, and long-term maternal weight gain, as well as childhood obesity in the offspring. Interventions that modify diet and physical activity during pregnancy have been shown to have a modest effect on pregnancy weight gain.


Pregnancy Weight gain Obesity Prenatal care Nutrition Exercise 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Hospital Oakland Research InstituteOaklandUSA

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