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Body weight gain and serum leptin levels of non-overweight and overweight/obese pregnant women

Didier Silveira Castellano Filho, José Otávio do Amaral Correa, Plínio dos Santos Ramos, Marina de Oliveira Montessi, Beatriz Julião Vieira Aarestrup, Fernando Monteiro Aarestrup

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Therezinha de Jesus Hospital, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences of Juiz de Fora – SUPREMA, Juiz de Fora, Brazil

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:1043-1049

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.884027

Available online:

Published: 2013-11-22

Background: Our objective was to evaluate changes in serum leptin levels during pregnancy in overweight/obese and non-obese women and to assess total and percent weight gain during pregnancy as possible factors that influence leptin levels.
Material and Methods: In a prospective study of 42 low-risk pregnant women receiving prenatal care, we assessed serum leptin levels at gestational weeks 9–12, 25–28, and 34–37. Based on their pre-pregnancy body mass indices (BMIs), the cohort was divided into: non-overweight (BMI <25 kg/m2) and overweight/obese (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) subjects.
Results: We found a progressive increase in maternal weight gain during pregnancy in both groups. There was also a progressive increase in leptin levels in the 2 strata; however, the increase was significantly higher in the non-overweight patient group. We found that non-overweight pregnant women had a noticeably larger total weight gain. When analyzing the percent weight gain during pregnancy compared to the pre-pregnancy weight, the non-overweight group had a significantly greater percent weight gain than the overweight/obese group.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the greater increase in leptin levels in non-overweight pregnant women can be explained by the higher percent weight gain in this group compared to overweight/obese women. These findings suggest that controlling the percent weight gain may be an important preventive measure when controlling leptin levels during pregnancy and subsequent medical complications.

Keywords: Analysis of Variance, Adult, Anthropometry, Brazil, Gestational Age, Leptin - blood, Obesity - physiopathology, Overweight - physiopathology, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies, Weight Gain - physiology