OBJECTIVES: Associations of gestational weight gain (GWG) during specific periods of pregnancy with infant birth size have been inconsistent. Infant sex-specific differences in these associations are unknown
METHODS: Information on GWG (kg) [total, early (<20 weeks gestation), and late (≥20 weeks gestation)] and indices of infant birth size including birthweight (BW), ponderal index (PI), crown-heel length (CHL), and head circumference (HC) was collected from 3,621 pregnant women. We calculated adjusted mean differences and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) relating total, early and late GWG to infant birth size using multivariable linear regression procedures. We used stratified analyses and interaction terms to test whether associations differed by infant sex. RESULTS: One-kg increases in total, early or late GWG were associated with BW increases of 17.2 g (95 % CI 13.8-18.9), 14.1 g (95 % CI 10.3-18.0), and 21.0 g (95 % CI 16.7-25.4), respectively. Early GWG-BW and late GWG-BW associations were different (p = 0.026). Sex-stratified total GWG-BW associations were similar to overall results. There were sex-specific differences in early GWG-BW and late GWG-BW associations. Among females, early GWG-BW (12.0 g, 95 % CI 6.7-17.2) and late GWG-BW (24.2 g, 95 % CI 18.2-30.3) associations differed (p = 0.0042); the corresponding associations did not differ among males. Total, early, and late GWG were associated with CHL and HC, but not with PI. Associations did not differ for early or late GWG. CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: For comparable GWG, late-GWG-related BW increase is greater than early-GWG-related BW increase, particularly among female infants.