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Associations of pre-pregnancy body mass index, middle-upper arm circumference, and gestational weight gain

An optimal gestational weight gain is essential for maternal health and to reduce adverse birth outcomes. Current guidelines to monitor gestational weight gain are based on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). However, middle-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is increasingly used as an alternative nutritional status measure for pregnant women. Hence, this study aimed to determine associations of MUAC and pre-pregnancy BMI with gestational weight gain rate among Malaysian pregnant women. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 444 pregnant women (≥20 weeks gestation). Women completed questionnaires on sociodemographic data, maternal characteristics and pre-pregnancy weight. Height, current weight and MUAC were measured at study visit (from 1st February 2016 to 31st January 2017). About a third (34.24%) of pregnant women were overweight or obese prior to pregnancy. MUAC was inversely associated with an inadequate rate of gestational weight gain (OR = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.68, 0.87) as compared to normal gestational weight gain. In contrast, a higher MUAC was associated with a higher odds ratio (OR = 1.28; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.49) of having excessive rate of gestational weight. No associations were found for pre-pregnancy BMI categories for gestational weight gain rate. Our findings revealed that women with low MUAC were more likely to have an inadequate gestational weight gain rate during pregnancy whereas higher MUAC was associated with an excessive gestational weight gain rate. MUAC may be a useful indicator of nutritional status associated with GWG. Routine measurement of MUAC in pregnant women may help health professionals, particularly in middle-income countries, to counsel women about gestational weight gain.

Authors: Ng CM; Badon SE; Dhivyalosini M; Hamid JJM; Rohana AJ; Teoh AN; Satvinder K

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2019 Jun;20:60-65. Epub 2019-03-19.

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