Prepregnant Weight and Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Relationship to Functional Status, Symptoms, and Energy

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the relationship of prepregnancy weight and pregnancy weight gain to functional status, physical symptoms, and physical energy.

Design:

Longitudinal panel, with data collected at the end of each trimester. Functional status was measured by the Inventory of Functional Status-Antepartum Period; physical symptoms, by the Symptoms Checklist; and physical energy, by a one-item question. Self-reported weight and height were used to calculate body mass index (BMI), using the formula weight[kg]/height[m2].

Setting:

Women's homes.

Participants:

Two hundred twenty-two women, whose pregnancies were low-risk, drawn from a larger study.

Results:

Women were classified by prepregnancy BMI as underweight (BMI < 19.8), normal weight (BMI = 19.8-26.0), or overweight (BMI > 26.0). The groups did not differ in weight gain by trimester, for an average total weight gain of 30.56 lb (SD = 10.18, range = 1-64) (p > .05), with overweight women therefore gaining less weight on a percentage basis (M = 16.87%) than women who were of normal weight (M = 23.58%) or were underweight (M = 26.02%) (p < .00005). The groups did not differ in functional status, physical energy, or number or type of physical symptoms. Women who gained more than the recommended amount of weight for their prepregnant weight group had a lower level of 3rd trimester functional status than those who did not.

Conclusions:

Individual counseling of women regarding food intake and excessive weight gain during pregnancy needs to be reconsidered in light of these findings.

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