Influence of Pregnancy Weight on Maternal and Child Health: A Workshop Report


Given the unprecedented environment in the United States in which two-thirds of the adult population meets the criteria for being overweight or obese, the implications for women in the reproductive age period are unique in the history of the country.   

In May 2006, at the request of the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine convened a workshop to examine emerging research findings related to the complex relationship of the biological, behavioral, psychological, and social interactions that affect maternal and pregnancy weight on maternal and child health outcomes. 

This report summarizes the research discussed in the workshop and reviews U.S. trends in maternal weight (prior to, during, and after pregnancy) among different populations of women.  In addition to discussing general trends, the report examines the determinants of: 

  • gestational weight gain;
  • relationships among maternal weight, gestational weight gain, and the health of women and children;
  • interventions in health care and community settings that help women achieve appropriate weight levels during and after pregnancy; and, 
  • emerging themes that warrant further examination in future research studies.