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The Effect of Gestational Weight Gain Across Reproductive History on Maternal Body Mass Index in Midlife: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation

Background: Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is common and has been shown to be associated with increased long-term maternal weight. However, less is known on whether there is a cumulative effect of excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) over multiple pregnancies. Methods: Data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation were used, restricted to parous women with no history of stillbirth or premature birth. The effect of the number of excessive GWG pregnancies on body mass index (BMI) in midlife (age 42-53) was analyzed using multivariable linear regression. Fully adjusted models included parity, inadequate GWG, demographic, and behavioral characteristics. Results: The 1181 women included in this analysis reported a total of 2693 births. Overall, 466 (39.5%) were categorized as having at least one pregnancy with excessive GWG. The median BMI at midlife was 26.0 kg/m2 (interquartile range 22.5-31.1). In fully adjusted models, each additional pregnancy with excessive GWG was associated with 0.021 higher estimated log BMI (p = 0.031). Among women with 1-3 births, adjusted mean (95% confidence interval) BMI for those with 0, 1, 2, and 3 excessive GWG pregnancies was 25.4 (24.9-25.9), 26.8 (26.1-27.5), 27.5 (26.6-28.4), and 28.8 (27.3-30.5), respectively. Conclusions: In this multiethnic study of women with a history of term live births, the number of pregnancies with excessive GWG was associated with increased maternal BMI in midlife. Our findings suggest that prevention of excessive GWG at any point in a woman’s reproductive history can have an impact on long-term maternal health.

Authors: Hutchins F; Abrams B; Brooks M; Colvin A; Moore Simas T; Rosal M; Sternfeld B; Crawford S

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2020 02;29(2):148-157. Epub 2019-11-27.

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