WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with higher gestational weight gain (GWG) and a higher risk for excessive GWG among U.S. individuals with singleton pregnancies in 2020, according to a research letter published online Sept. 9 in JAMA Network Open.

Wangnan Cao, Ph.D., from Peking University in Beijing, and colleagues used national data on all U.S. live births (2018 through 2020) to estimate changes in GWG among 2.8 million singleton births during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 1 to Dec. 31, 2020).

The researchers found that after adjusting for covariates and excluding prepandemic trends in GWG, there was an increase of 0.06 kg in GWG, with pronounced increases among pregnant individuals younger than 25 years (net change, 0.22), non-Hispanic Black individuals (net change, 0.12), unmarried individuals (net change, 0.16), individuals who had obesity before pregnancy (net change, 0.17), and individuals who used Medicaid to pay for delivery (net change, 0.17). The investigators also observed an increased risk for excessive GWG (ratio of odds ratio, 1.01) during the pandemic. The same populations were susceptible to excessive GWG as for continuous GWG.

“These findings shed light on the associations of the pandemic with adverse pregnancy outcomes and highlight the need to address pandemic-related GWG, particularly among vulnerable populations, to minimize the public health impact,” the authors write.

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