Both excessive and inadequate maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) may have independent and significant impacts on childhood adiposity, hypertension and insulin resistance, according to new research published in Diabetologia.
The study evaluated the relationship between GWG and cardiometabolic risk in offspring (aged seven years) among 905 mother-child pairs enrolled in the multicentre Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome study. Women were classified as having gained weight below, within or exceeding the 2009 Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines.
The researchers found women who gained more weight than the IOM recommendations had offspring with a larger body size as well as increased odds of adiposity, hypertension and insulin resistance than women who were within the recommended range of weight gain during pregnancy. Those who gained less weight than recommended had offspring with increased risks of hypertension and insulin resistance, compared with those who gained weight within the recommended range.
The authors said the findings have important implications for both prevention and treatment. "There is a need for greater awareness and monitoring of weight gain during pregnancy. Pregnancy might be a potential window of opportunity for intervention through modifiable behaviours, including maternal nutrition and physical activity," they said.