Dynamic energy-balance model predicting gestational weight gain

Diana M. Thomas, Jesus E. Navarro-Barrientos, Daniel Rivera, Steven B. Heymsfield, Carl Bredlau, Leanne M. Redman, Corby K. Martin, Sally A. Lederman, Linda M. Collins, Nancy F. Butte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: Gestational weight gains (GWGs) that exceed the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommended ranges increase risk of long-term postpartum weight retention; conversely, GWGs within the recommended ranges are more likely to result in positive maternal and fetal outcomes. Despite this evidence, recent epidemiologic studies have shown that the majority of pregnant women gain outside the target GWG ranges. A mathematical model that predicts GWG and energy intake could provide a clinical tool for setting precise goals during early pregnancy and continuous objective feedback throughout pregnancy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a differential equation model for energy balance during pregnancy that predicts GWG that results from changes in energy intakes. Design: A set of prepregnancy BMI - dependent mathematical models that predict GWG were developed by using data from a longitudinal study that measured gestational-changes in fat-free mass, fat mass, total body water, and total energy expenditure in 63 subjects. Results: Mathematical models developed for women with low, normal, and high prepregnancy BMI were shown to fit the original data. In 2 independent studies used for validation, model predictions of fat-free mass, fat mass, and total body water matched actual measurements within 1 kg. Conclusions: Our energy-balance model provides plausible predictions of GWG that results from changes in energy intakes. Because the model was implemented as a Web-based applet, it can be widely used by pregnant women and their health care providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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