Section 3
Chapter 2,430

Maternal weight and weight gain in Africans. Its relationship to birth weight

Lawoyin, T.O.

Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 37(4): 166-171


ISSN/ISBN: 0142-6338
PMID: 1960772
DOI: 10.1093/tropej/37.4.166
Accession: 002429128

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A prospective study on 600 gravid women, 492 of whom eventually delivered normal singleton babies following uncomplicated pregnancies is described. Maternal weight measurements per gestational age were recorded from the 10th week till delivery in these randomly selected women attending regular antenatal clinic. The purpose of this paper is: to describe the observed changes in maternal weight throughout normal term pregnancy; to see if any relationship exists between maternal weight and gestational age of women entering pregnancy with different weights; and to explain how the weight changes affected the birth weights of their babies. Mean maternal weight gained in pregnancy was found to be 13.3 +/- 4.56 kg for all deliveries. The mean weight gained for mothers who delivered term (37-41 weeks) low birth weight babies (LBW, weight 0-2500 g) was 9.53 +/- 3.69 kg and the mean for mothers who had large for gestational age babies (LGA, birth weight greater than or equal to 3800 g) was 15.97 +/- 2.67 kg and the mean for mothers who had standard or normal weight babies (NW, birth weight 2501-3799 g) was 13.05 +/- 4.86 kg. The change in maternal weight per unit time was found to be constant for all mothers from the 12th week for normal pregnancy till delivery (r = 0.97, P < 0.01) except in the obese mothers, most of whom had no consistent gain in weight throughout pregnancy (r = -0.32). The mothers who delivered LBW infants gained less in every trimester when compared with the standard (NW). The mothers of LGA babies gained more in every trimester than did the standard. About 80 per cent of the total weight gained in pregnancy was attained by the 28th week. Mothers who had LBW babies, however, tended to gain less (only about 5 per cent of their total weight) in the first trimester while mothers who delivered standard weight (NW) and LGA babies tended to gain a higher percentage of their total weight in this same period. In the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, however, mothers who delivered LBW babies tended to gain a higher percentage of their total weight than did those mothers who delivered normal weight babies and LGA babies in this same period. The weight gain in last 4 and 10 weeks to term significantly affected birth weight of babies (P < 0.001, 0.001, respectively). All mothers who gained less than or equal to 5 kg gave birth to LBW babies. No mother who gained greater than or equal to 15 kg had a LBW baby and no mother who gained less than or equal to 10 kg gave birth to LGA babies. The optimal range for weight gain for normal weight delivery was 10-15 kg. The mean birth weight increased as the weight of the mother before pregnancy and in the 1st and mid-2nd trimester increased. The trend became reversed as maternal weight increased over 90 kg (P < 0.001).

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