Preconception Predictors of Weight Gain During Pregnancy. Prospective Findings from the Central Pennsylvania Women's Health Study

Carol S. Weisman, Marianne M. Hillemeier, Danielle Symons Downs, Cynthia H. Chuang, Anne Marie Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objectives: We examined preconception (prepregnancy) predictors of pregnancy weight gain and weight gain that exceeds the 2009 Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations based on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), in a prospective study. Methods: Data are from a population-based cohort study of 1,420 women who were interviewed at baseline and 2 years later. The analytic sample includes 103 women who were not pregnant at baseline and gave birth to full-term singletons during the follow-up period. Preconception maternal weight category as well as health behaviors, psychosocial stress, parity, and age were examined as predictors of pregnancy weight gain and of weight gain in excess of the IOM recommendations using multiple linear and logistic regression analysis. Results: Pregnancy weight gain averaged 33.01 pounds, with 51% of women gaining weight in excess of the 2009 IOM recommendations for their preconception weight category. Preconception overweight (BMI = 25-29.9) increased the odds of excessive pregnancy weight gain nearly threefold, whereas preconception physical activity levels meeting activity guidelines reduced the odds of excessive weight gain but was marginally statistically significant. Conclusion: Although future research examining the role of physical activity in relation to pregnancy weight gain is needed, preconception overweight and physical activity levels are prime targets for interventions to avoid excessive pregnancy weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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