TABLE 2-3 Data Required to Assess Trends in Pregnancy-Related Maternal Weight and the Ideal and Practical Methods of Measurement and Acquisition

Required Data

Method of Measurement and Acquisition



Prepreganancy weight

Measureda at a preconceptional visit

Recalled at the first prenatal visit using a standardized question

Prepreganancy height

Measureda at the first prenatal visit


Gestational weight gain

Total gain: last measured available weight abstracted from clinical records

Total gain: maternal recall of last available weight


Pattern of gain: requires trimester-specific or midpregnancy weight abstractions


Gestational age at last available weightb

Abstracted from clinical records


Postpartum weight

Total retention: measured maternal weight abstracted from clinical records

Total retention: recalled maternal postpartum weight


Measured longitudinally in nonpregnant women

Cross-sectionally in nonpregnant women


Time: serial measurements 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months after delivery

Time: 3, 6, 9, 12, or 18 months after delivery

aAll weight and height measurements should be performed in light clothing without shoes.

bThe gestational age at delivery may vary substantially from the gestational age at the last prenatal visit. Thus, misclassification may result if the gestational age at delivery is used in combination with weight at the last prenatal visit to determine weight gain adequacy.

pregnancy than women 35 years of age and older. Between 1990 and 2005, there was a 31 percent increase in GWG of at least 40 pounds in singleton pregnancies among adolescents (NCHS, 2007a). In 2005, weight gain of < 15 pounds was more common among black and Hispanic than among white women (Figure 2-5). Within each racial or ethnic group, the proportion of women with low gains increased with advancing age.

Weight Gain Relative to Prepregnancy BMI

Unfortunately, the standard birth certificate lacks data on maternal prepregnancy weight and height. Thus, data from this source cannot pro-

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