In the U.S., nearly two-thirds of women are overweight or obese, and for those who are pregnant, unhealthy bodyweight dramatically increases their risk of developing significant medical complications, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, preterm birth, and maternal and infant mortality. Obstetricians and other health providers rely on Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines written in 2009 to determine appropriate rates of weight gain during pregnancy. Now, a commentary co-authored by a University of Minnesota School of Public Health scientist is suggesting it may be time to review the U.S. guidelines to assure they reflect current research and thinking as well as factor in the diversity of women across the country.
“It’s time to reexamine the obesity-specific gestational weight gain guidelines because a lot more women are entering pregnancy obese and there is more research to draw from now than prior to 2009,” said Dr. Stang. “Additionally, women from racial and ethnic minority populations experience overweight and obesity at higher rates than White women. Given that half of babies born each year are children of color, this makes prepregnancy obesity a major public health issue that contributes to disparities in maternal and fetal health.”
The basis for the commentary emerged from a workgroup Dr. Stang participated in organized by the National Academy of Sciences to examine the state of gestational weight guidelines research and its knowledge gaps.
Dr. Stang said a number of recommended health care priorities and recommendations related to obesity in pregnancy emerged from the workgroup.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on February 14