Interprovincial variation in pre-pregnancy body mass index and gestational weight gain and their impact on neonatal birth weight with respect to small and large for gestational age Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: To explore provincial variation in both excess and inadequate pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) and their impact on small- and large-for-gestational-age (SGA, LGA) infants. METHODS: Four provinces with a perinatal database capturing the required exposures participated: British Columbia (BC), Ontario (ON), Nova Scotia (NS), and Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). In multiple, concurrent retrospective studies, we included women ≥ 19 years, who gave birth from 22+0 to 42+6 weeks' gestation, to a live singleton from April 2013-March 2014. From adjusted odds ratios, we calculated population attributable fractions (PAF) of SGA and LGA for BMI and GWG. RESULTS: The proportion of overweight and obese women increased from western to eastern Canada. In BC, ON, NS, and NL, the proportions of women who were overweight were 21.1%, 24.0%, 23.7%, and 25.4%, while obesity proportions were 14.2%, 18.1%, 24.2%, and 29.8%, respectively. Excess GWG affected 53.9%, 49.9%, 57.6%, and 65.6% of women, respectively. Excess GWG contributed to 29.5-42.5% of LGA, compared with the PAFs for overweight (6.8-12.0%) and obesity (13.2-20.6%). Inadequate GWG's contribution to SGA (4.8-12.3%) was higher than underweight BMI's (2.9-6.2%). CONCLUSION: In this interprovincial study, high and increasing proportions of women from west to east had excess pre-pregnancy BMI, and between half to two thirds had excess GWG. The contributions of GWG outside of recommendations to SGA and LGA were greater than that of low or high BMI. GWG is a potentially modifiable determinant of SGA and LGA across Canada.


  • McDonald, Sarah
  • Woolcott, Christy
  • Chapinal, Núria
  • Guo, Yanfang
  • Murphy, Phil
  • Dzakpasu, Susie

publication date

  • August 2018