Weight gain during pregnancy and the black-white disparity in preterm birth

Stephanie A. Leonard, Lucia Catherine Petito, Olof Stephansson, Jennifer A. Hutcheon, Lisa M. Bodnar, Mahasin S. Mujahid, Yvonne Cheng, Barbara Abrams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose To quantify the relationship between pregnancy weight gain with early and late preterm birth and evaluate whether associations differed between non-Hispanic (NH) black and NH white women. Methods We analyzed a retrospective cohort of all live births to NH black and NH white women in the United States 2011–2015 (n = 10,714,983). We used weight gain z-scores in multiple logistic regression models stratified by prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and race to calculate population attributable risk (PAR) percentages for the contribution of high and low pregnancy weight gain to early and late preterm birth. Results Pregnancy weight gain was related to early and late preterm birth, but associations varied by BMI and race. For early preterm birth, the PAR percentage for high pregnancy weight gain ranged from 8 to 10% in NH black women and from 6 to 8% in NH white women. There was little evidence of racial differences in late preterm birth: PAR percentages ranged from 2 to 7% in NH black women and from 3 to 7% in NH white women. Conclusions Moderate gestational weight gain is associated with lower rate of preterm birth, with greatest reductions for early preterm birth in NH black women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-328.e1
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • African Americans
  • Health status disparities
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • United States
  • Weight gain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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