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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMass: Dean’s Paper Examines Gestational Weight Gain Recommendations

Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz, dean of the University of Massachussets Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and an expert in nutritional epidemiology, is the lead author of “The Current Understanding of Gestational Weight Gain Among Women with Obesity and the Need for Future Research,” a discussion paper appearing in NAM Perspectives.

Dean Siega-Riz and co-authors were speakers on a Roundtable on Obesity Solutions webinar held in June 2018 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The webinar focused on the impacts on maternal and child health among women with obesity and explored new evidence that has emerged since the 2009 Institute of Medicine and National Research Council gestational weight gain (GWG) recommendations were released.

In a follow-up to that webinar, Dean Siega-Riz and co-authors present a summary of how those 2009 recommendations were made, noting that since the publication of that report, more evidence has emerged about weight gain in pregnancy among women with obesity. New evidence includes trends in weight gains and associated health outcomes, as well as promising interventions, including digital health tools and group prenatal care.

The authors provide a discussion of the research gaps that need to be addressed before new recommendations can be made for these groups of women. They suggest that future research employ stronger study designs, include diverse participants, collect more frequent and detailed data, examine differences in GWG by class of obesity, and assess both physiological and socio-economic constructs of health that may impact weight status before and during pregnancy. They recommend that interventions should be developed with the involvement and engagement of the communities they will serve.

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