New research on weight gain in pregnancy

By Hollie Ewers on 20 September 2018 Pregnancy and Weight Management

A new study shows that if a woman gains either too much or too little weight during pregnancy, there are adverse effects in their children at seven years of age.

The study found that independent of pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational hyperglycaemia and other confounders, women who gained more weight than the Institute of Medicine recommendations had children with a larger body size and increased odds of obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance than women who were within the recommended range of weight gain during pregnancy. 

Women who gained less weight than outlined in the recommendations had offspring with increased risks of hypertension and insulin resistance, compared with those who gained weight within the recommended range.

The RCM said this research highlights that more guidance is needed on weight gain in pregnancy in the UK.

RCM head of quality and standards Mandy Forrester said: ‘The RCM and Slimming World issued a call in July for UK guidelines on what constitutes a safe weight gain. Without this midwives have to use their own initiative and refer to American guidance.
‘There is a clear need for midwives to have the tools, guidance and training they need so that they can offer women the best possible support and care. This is especially pressing because of the potentially serious complications that can arise in pregnancy as a result of women being overweight or obese. It is a real concern that some midwives do not have access to that most basic piece of equipment, scales.’

The RCM is calling for clear guidance on healthy weight management in pregnancy and will be looking at how it can take this forward so that women and midwives have the information, support and resources needed. 

The full study, published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes), is available here.