Gestational Weight Gain and Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes in Underweight Pregnant Women: A Population-Based Historical Cohort Study
- Jeffrey A. Gavard
- Maternal and Child Health Journal
Size at birth has been associated repeatedly with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality later in life. However, there is accumulating evidence to suggest an association between being born small for gestational age (SGA) and increased risk of lower intelligence, poor academic performance, low social competence and behavioural problems, compared with individuals born appropriate for gestational age. Crude neurological handicaps, such as cerebral palsy, are extremely rare in children born SGA at term. Such handicaps are more common in very premature children. However, there does appear to be an increase in the risk for non-severe neurological dysfunction in individuals born SGA. Intellectual performance is evaluated in young children in several different ways, including standardized tests such as Weschler's Intelligence Scale - Revised, and teachers and parents' reports. In adulthood, indirect variables such as education and occupation are used in addition to standardized tests. It may be possible to modify the effects of SGA on intellectual development by breast feeding the baby for more than 6 months. Nutrient-enriched formula does not have any advantages when it comes to intellectual development, and induces a risk of rapid weight gain and eventually overweight. Growth hormone treatment may also have some effect on intelligence quotient.