Positive birth outcomes are associated with maintaining a healthy gestational weight. Less than 30% of women gain the appropriate amount of weight during pregnancy. Gaining too much or too little weight while pregnant can result in health complications before, during, and after delivery. Women who gain less than the recommended amount during pregnancy are more likely to have spontaneous pre-term birth and babies of low birth weight when compared to women who gain the recommended amount. Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy increase their likelihood of requiring a cesarean delivery in order to avoid complications from macrosomia. Adverse health outcomes such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, weight retention after delivery, and higher rates of unsuccessful breastfeeding are associated with gaining excess gestational weight. Complications associated with poor weight gain include a higher risk of medially induced labor prior to 37 weeks gestation. Excess weight gain during pregnancy does not protect women against having a baby of low birth weight. Preeclampsia and complications during labor and delivery are the most commonly reported antenatal conditions associated with higher than recommended gestational weight gain. The most common postpartum consequences of excess gestational weight gain include difficulties breastfeeding and difficulties losing weight. Maternal health problems related to long-term weight retention include an increased risk of future reproductive complications, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental health concerns. Pregnant women, who stay within the range of recommended weight gain, which varies based on their pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI), are better able to return to a healthy weight postpartum.
More than 50% of women report not having received advice from their healthcare provider about healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Prenatal checkups provide clinicians with an opportunity to advise women about healthy weight gain throughout pregnancy and post-partum.ion may aid in reducing associated risks of delayed conception, spontaneous miscarriage, and low birth weight.