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Trajectories of maternal weight from before pregnancy through postpartum and associations with childhood obesity


Background: Prepregnancy body mass index [BMI (in kg/m2)], gestational weight gain, and postpartum weight retention may have distinct effects on the development of child obesity, but their combined effect is currently unknown.Objective: We described longitudinal trajectories of maternal weight from before pregnancy through the postpartum period and assessed the relations between maternal weight trajectories and offspring obesity in childhood.Design: We analyzed data from 4436 pairs of mothers and their children in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (1981-2014). We used latent-class growth modeling in addition to national recommendations for prepregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, and postpartum weight retention to create maternal weight trajectory groups. We used modified Poisson regression models to assess the associations between maternal weight trajectory group and offspring obesity at 3 age periods (2-5, 6-11, and 12-19 y).Results: Our analysis using maternal weight trajectories based on either latent-class results or recommendations showed that the risk of child obesity was lowest in the lowest maternal weight trajectory group. The differences in obesity risk were largest after 5 y of age and persisted into adolescence. In the latent-class analysis, the highest-order maternal weight trajectory group consisted almost entirely of women who were obese before pregnancy and was associated with a >2-fold increase in the risk of offspring obesity at ages 6-11 y (adjusted RR: 2.39; 95% CI: 1.97, 2.89) and 12-19 y (adjusted RR: 2.74; 95% CI: 2.13, 3.52). In the analysis with maternal weight trajectory groups based on recommendations, the risk of child obesity was consistently highest for women who were overweight or obese at the beginning of pregnancy.Conclusion: These findings suggest that high maternal weight across the childbearing period increases the risk of obesity in offspring during childhood, but high prepregnancy BMI has a stronger influence than either gestational weight gain or postpartum weight retention.

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