Reference Charts for Anthropometric Changes During Pregnancy

  • Elvira Beatriz Calvo
  • Laura Beatriz López


Maternal nutritional status should be viewed as the result of a very long process beginning in the mother’s own intrauterine life, and constitutes a critical determinant of pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and her infant.

Strong evidence supports the association between gestational weight gain (GWG) and preterm birth, total birth weight, low birth weight, large and small for gestational age infants, and macrosomia. Moderate evidence relates GWG to cesarean delivery and intermediate-term postpartum weight retention. In this chapter, the anthropometric indicators used to assess pregnant women nutritional status are reviewed, considering their predictive ability for detrimental pregnancy outcomes. Criteria for evaluating normality of these indicators and the different instruments used as references in many settings are considered in relation to the epidemiological characteristics and health care facilities of diverse populations. Evolution of weight gain charts in the last few decades reflects changes in recommendations and better understanding of the role of weight gain in pregnancy management. Nevertheless, there is no standardization across instruments. Recognizing the importance of adequate weight gain during pregnancy for the mother and newborn health based on prepregnancy nutritional status, as well as the different situation in developed countries – concerned with the increasing prevalence of obesity in women – versus developing countries – where rates of low birth weight in infants are still unacceptable – are among the lessons learned.


Gestational Weight Gain Prepregnancy Body Mass Index Prepregnancy Weight Maternal Height Pregnancy Weight Gain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Body mass index


Gestational weight gain


Institute of Medicine


Low birth weight


Large for gestational age


Mid-upper arm circumference


Small for gestational age


World Health Organization


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NutritionNational Direction of Maternal and Child Health, Ministry of HealthBuenos AiresArgentina

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