Large Weight Gain Results in Highest NICU Admissions


WASHINGTON — Either too much or too little weight gain during pregnancy could increase the risk of neonatal intensive care unit admission and peripartum complications, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The highest quintiles of maternal weight gain during pregnancy were significantly associated with rates of NICU admission in a study of 2,784 singleton pregnancies, Dr. Teresa Tam and her colleagues, of Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago, reported in a poster.

After adjustment for age, delivery method, and prepregnancy weight, among other factors, the medium weight gain quintiles— 22–29 pounds and 30–35 pounds—were associated with the lowest NICU transfer rates of 3.3% and 2.6%, respectively. The study did not analyze the specific outcomes that prompted the NICU transfers.

A second poster by Dr. Devendra A. Patel of Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, and colleagues found that heavier women had almost twice the rate of maternal and fetal complications as women of normal weight.

Dr. Patel found no fetal complications and 11 peripartum complications among 68 women whose BMI was less than 30 kg/m

An analysis of a larger sample while controlling for confounding variables is needed to confirm the study's validity, the investigators wrote.

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