Singapore, Oct 31: While it is said that women should eat for two during pregnancy, excessive weight gain may be a sign of adverse health issues for mothers and can raise risk of death, finds a study.
The impact of excessive weight gain during pregnancy is usually associated with greater postpartum weight retention, and complications such as gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, as well as a higher chance of requiring a C-section. However, its long-term implications have hitherto remained unknown.
The researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine) found that for women with body mass index (BMI) in the normal and overweight range, excessive weight gain during pregnancy was associated with a 9 per cent to 12 per cent increase of all-cause mortality risk respectively. The findings were published in The Lancet.
Based on data of over 46,000 women, the researchers estimated associations between gestational weight gain and loss and mortality.
Excessive weight gain for women with a pre-pregnancy BMI in the underweight and normal range, led to an 84 per cent and 20 per cent increased risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease respectively. At the same time, women with a BMI in the overweight range, held a 77 per cent increased risk of mortality from diabetes.
Considering current knowledge and the phenomenon of weight gain during pregnancy, the lack of studies and information on this renders the novel findings critical.
The findings from this large well-characterised study, with more than 50 years of follow-up data, provide important evidence on the significance of women’s health for reproduction and their overall long-term health, wellbeing, and longevity.
“Promoting women’s health and achieving healthy longevity should start early in women’s lives. In particular, women’s health at their reproductive age and during pregnancy, are critical time windows that have long-term health impacts over their lifespan, as well as intergenerational impact on the offspring and the family,” said Professor Cuilin Zhang, from the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at NUS Medicine.