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Maternal Pre-pregnancy BMI, Gestational Weight Gain, and Infant Birth Weight: A Within-Family Analysis in the United States

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  • Ji Yan

Abstract

In the United States, the high prevalence of unhealthy preconception body weight and inappropriate gestational weight gain among pregnant women is an important public health concern. However, the relationship among pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, and newborn birth weight has not been well established. This study uses a very large dataset of sibling births and a within-family design to thoroughly address this issue. The baseline regression controlling for mother fixed effects indicates maternal preconception overweight, preconception obesity, and excessive gestational weight gain significantly increase the risk of having a high birth weight baby, while underweight before pregnancy and inadequate gestational weight gain increase the low birth weight incidence. The benchmark results are robust in a variety of sensitivity checks. Since poor birth outcomes especially high birth weight and low birth weight have lasting adverse impacts on newborn’s health, education and socio-economic outcomes later in life, the findings of this research suggest promoting healthy weight among women before pregnancy and preventing inappropriate weight gain during pregnancy can generate significant intergenerational benefits. Key Words: Pre-pregnancy BMI; Gestational weight gain; Birth weight; High birth weight; Low birth weight

Suggested Citation

  • Ji Yan, 2014. "Maternal Pre-pregnancy BMI, Gestational Weight Gain, and Infant Birth Weight: A Within-Family Analysis in the United States," Working Papers 14-10, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:14-10
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    File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp1410.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
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    3. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
    4. Voigt, Manfred & Heineck, Guido & Hesse, Volker, 2004. "The relationship between maternal characteristics, birth weight and pre-term delivery: evidence from Germany at the end of the 20th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 265-280, June.
    5. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet, 2011. "Human Capital Development before Age Five," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.),Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 15, pages 1315-1486, Elsevier.
    6. Rosemary Hyson & Janet Currie, 1999. "Is the Impact of Health Shocks Cushioned by Socioeconomic Status? The Case of Low Birthweight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 245-250, May.
    7. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/317 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Cesur Resul & Kelly Inas Rashad, 2010. "From Cradle to Classroom: High Birth Weight and Cognitive Outcomes," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(2), pages 1-26, March.
    9. Doyle, Orla & Harmon, Colm P. & Heckman, James J. & Tremblay, Richard E., 2009. "Investing in early human development: Timing and economic efficiency," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-6, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Damian Clarke & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana‐Domeque, 2019. "The demand for season of birth," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(5), pages 707-723, August.
    2. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2017. "The intergenerational transmission of body mass index across countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 140-152.
    3. Karen S. Conway & Andrea K. Menclova, 2018. "You’ll Never Walk Alone – The Effects of Walkability on Pregnancy Behaviors and Outcomes," Working Papers in Economics 18/16, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Kugler, Adriana D., 2016. "Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 136-148.
    5. Conway, Karen Smith & Trudeau, Jennifer, 2019. "Sunshine, fertility and racial disparities," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 18-39.
    6. Averett, Susan L. & Fletcher, Erin K., 2015. "The Relationship between Maternal Pre-Pregnancy BMI and Preschool Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 9608, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Lenore Manderson & Fiona C. Ross, 2020. "Publics, technologies and interventions in reproduction and early life in South Africa," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 7(1), pages 1-9, December.
    8. Classen, Timothy J. & Thompson, Owen, 2016. "Genes and the intergenerational transmission of BMI and obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 121-133.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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