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Overweight pregnancies up risk of maternal midlife obesity

New York: The excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) is not only linked with the increased long-term maternal weight, but, according to a new study, it also has cumulative effect over multiple pregnancies.

For the study, published in Journal of Women’s Health, the researchers selected 1,181 women and analysed the effect of excessive GWG pregnancies on the body mass index (BMI) at midlife.

“The research showed each pregnancy with excessive GWG was associated with 64 per cent increase in the likelihood of obesity at midlife, regardless of the race, ethnicity, number of pregnancies and physical activity levels,” said Susan G. Kornstein of Virginia Commonwealth University Institute in the US.

The researchers found that each additional pregnancy with excessive GWG was associated with higher BMI among women aged 42-53. Nearly 40 per cent women reported one GWG that was higher than the recommended GWG in at least one pregnancy, the study said.

Almost half (47.6 per cent) of the women with excessive GWG in at least one pregnancy had an obese BMI at midlife compared with 22.9 per cent of those who had never experienced excessive GWG. The research was conducted in collaboration with University of California and University of Massachusetts in the US.

“This finding makes a strong argument for avoiding excessive gestational weight gain in any pregnancy,” Kornstein said.