Excessive Weight Gain during Pregnancy Linked To Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

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Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is associated with elevated risks of heart disease and diabetes, according to a study by the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine. The findings underscore the need for increased support to help pregnant individuals achieve healthy weight gain, with researchers optimistic that this information will prompt greater efforts in that direction.

Healthy weight during pregnancy has long-term benefits

Lead study author Dr. Stefanie Hinkle stressed the importance of healthy weight gain during pregnancy. The study suggests that following current guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy can have long-term benefits for both the mother and the baby. Additionally findings emphasize the need for further efforts to find safe and effective ways to support pregnant individuals in achieving a healthy weight.

The study expands on earlier research by the investigators, establishing connections between pregnancy complications and increased mortality rates in subsequent years. Utilizing data from the Collaborative Perinatal Project, which documented a diverse group of individuals giving birth in the 1950s or 1960s.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 45,000 participants, including their BMI and body weight changes during pregnancy. They compared findings with the current guidelines for pregnancy weight gain, which are determined by an individual’s pre-pregnancy weight. These recommendations, introduced in 2009, recommend a weight gain of between 28 and 40 pounds for “underweight” individuals and 11 to 20 pounds for those classified as “obese” based on BMI standards.

Underweight women before pregnancy at risk of heart disease

Nearly 50% of current pregnant individuals surpass recommended weight gain ranges. About 39% of the study cohort passed away by 2016, and mortality rates correlated with pre-pregnancy BMI, with lower BMIs associated with lower mortality rates.

Women classified as “underweight” before pregnancy who exceeded recommended weight gain had an 84% higher risk of death from heart disease. Among those with a “normal” pre-pregnancy weight, exceeding weight gain recommendations led to a 9% increase in all-cause mortality and a 20% higher risk of heart disease-related death. “Overweight” individuals before pregnancy faced a 12% increased risk of death and a 12% higher risk of diabetes-related mortality if they surpassed recommended weight gain.

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