A new study suggests that reducing excessive pregnancy weight gain may be the most effective way to prevent large-for-gestational-age babies, which can be harmful to the mother and can increase risk of medical complications for the baby at birth and later in life. In the study of 660,038 Florida deliveries from 2004 to 2008, researchers found that LGA prevalence was 5.7% among normal-weight women with adequate pregnancy weight gain and no gestational diabetes, compared to 12.6%, 13.5% and 17.3%, respectively, among mothers with body mass indexes of 25 or greater, excess gestational weight gain and gestational diabetes. Using statistical analyses, they determined that for all race or ethnic groups, gestational diabetes contributed the least (2.0-8.0%) to LGA, while excessive weight gain contributed the most (33.3-37.7%). The authors assert that, in contrast to the prevention of obesity and gestational diabetes, not gaining excess gestational weight may be the most realistic prevention strategy because it is monitored during pregnancy. The study was led by the CDC and published in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Read the article.
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