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Database - Alliance francophone pour l'accouchement respecté (AFAR)

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Created on : 17 Feb 2008
Modified on : 24 Dec 2008

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Bibliographical entry (without author) :

Gestational weight gain and ’maternal obesity’ Nutrition Bulletin 25 (4) , 295–302.

Author(s) :

George T. H. Ellison, Helen E. Harris

Year of publication :


URL(s) :…

Résumé (français)  :

Abstract (English)  :

Summary There is an enduring belief, amongst mothers and obstetricians alike, that weight gain during pregnancy (i.e. ‘gestational weight gain’) increases the risk of permanent maternal weight gain (i.e. ‘maternal obesity’). In practice, such risks are only relevant to those mothers whose energy intake and/or energy expenditure place them in positive energy balance during pregnancy. For this reason, few studies from low-income countries (except those amongst well-nourished and predominantly sedentary populations) find evidence of ‘maternal obesity’. In contrast, a variety of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in high-income countries suggest that pregnancy is accompanied by long-term weight gain and an increased risk of ‘maternal’ obesity. Unfortunately, the results of all but four of these studies are compromised by the use of imprecise weight measurements, inadequate controls for potential confounding, and/or failure to account for increases in body weight with age. The four longitudinal analyses that did address these methodological concerns found that populations of women from Western European (Netherlands) and North American (United States) countries experience, on average, a net increase in body weight between conception and 1 year postpartum of 0.5 to 3.3kg (1.1 to 7.31b). These findings suggest that most well-nourished women can expect to gain some weight in association with pregnancy, although it remains unclear whether this is wholly the result of weight gained during pregnancy (i.e. ‘gestational weight gain’) or partly reflects a pre-pregnant and/or postpartum tendency to gain weight irrespective of pregnancy itself. In this regard, parental obesity and pre-pregnant body weight are both associated with an increased risk of ‘maternal obesity’, as are inadequate social support, increased food intake and reduced activity during the postpartum period. Longitudinal analyses that record changes in body weight before, during and after pregnancy are therefore required to establish the role that gestational weight gain plays in ‘maternal obesity’.

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Keywords :

➡ maternal weight

Author of this record :

Emmanuelle Phan — 17 Feb 2008

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