Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force

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US Preventive Services Task Force

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Importance Counseling and active behavioral interventions to limit excess gestational weight gain (GWG) during pregnancy may improve health outcomes for women and infants. The 2009 National Academy of Medicine (NAM; formerly the Institute of Medicine) recommendations for healthy GWG vary according to prepregnancy weight category.

Objective To review and synthesize the evidence on benefits and harms of behavioral interventions to promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation.

Data Sources Ovid MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library to March 2020, with surveillance through February 2021.

Study Selection Randomized clinical trials and nonrandomized controlled intervention studies focused on diet, exercise, and/or behavioral counseling interventions on GWG.

Data Extraction and Synthesis Independent data abstraction and study quality rating with dual review.

Main Outcomes and Measures Gestational weight–related outcomes; maternal and infant morbidity and mortality; harms.

Results Sixty-eight studies (N = 25 789) were included. Sixty-seven studies evaluated interventions during pregnancy, and 1 evaluated an intervention prior to pregnancy. GWG interventions were associated with reductions in risk of gestational diabetes (43 trials, n = 19 752; relative risk [RR], 0.87 [95% CI, 0.79 to 0.95]; absolute risk difference [ARD], −1.6%) and emergency cesarean delivery (14 trials, n = 7520; RR, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.74 to 0.96]; ARD, −2.4%). There was no significant association between GWG interventions and risk of gestational hypertension, cesarean delivery, or preeclampsia. GWG interventions were associated with decreased risk of macrosomia (25 trials, n = 13 990; RR, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.65 to 0.92]; ARD, −1.9%) and large for gestational age (26 trials, n = 13 000; RR, 0.89 [95% CI, 0.80 to 0.99]; ARD, −1.3%) but were not associated with preterm birth. Intervention participants experienced reduced weight gain across all prepregnancy weight categories (55 trials, n = 20 090; pooled mean difference, −1.02 kg [95% CI, −1.30 to −0.75]) and demonstrated lower likelihood of GWG in excess of NAM recommendations (39 trials, n = 14 271; RR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.77 to 0.89]; ARD, −7.6%). GWG interventions were associated with reduced postpartum weight retention at 12 months (10 trials, n = 3957; mean difference, −0.63 kg [95% CI, −1.44 to −0.01]). Data on harms were limited.

Conclusions and Relevance Counseling and active behavioral interventions to limit GWG were associated with decreased risk of gestational diabetes, emergency cesarean delivery, macrosomia, and large for gestational age. GWG interventions were also associated with modest reductions in mean GWG and decreased likelihood of exceeding NAM recommendations for GWG.


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