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Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Resting Metabolic Rate during Pregnancy

Melzer K.a · Schutz Y.d · Soehnchen N.b · Othenin Girard V.b · Martinez de Tejada B.b · Pichard C.c · Irion O.b · Boulvain M.b · Kayser B.a
aInstitute of Movement Sciences and Sports Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, and bDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and cNutrition Unit, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, and dDepartment of Physiology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland Ann Nutr Metab 2010;57:221–227 (DOI:10.1159/000322369)


Aim: The resting metabolic rate (RMR) varies among pregnant women. The factors responsible for this variability are unknown. This study aimed to assess the influence of the prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) on the RMR during late pregnancy. Methods: RMR, height, weight, and total (TEE) and activity (AEE) energy expenditures were measured in 46 healthy women aged 31 ± 5 years (mean ± SD) with low (<19.8), normal (19.8–26.0), and high (>26.0) prepregnancy BMI at 38.2 ± 1.5 weeks of gestation (tgest) and 40 ± 7 weeks postpartum (tpost) (n = 27). Results: The mean tgest RMR for the low-, normal-, and high-BMI groups was 1,373, 1,807, and 2,191 kcal/day, respectively (p = 0.001). The overall mean tgest RMR was 316 ± 183 kcal/day (21%), higher than the overall mean tpost value and this difference was correlated with gestational weight gain (r = 0.78, p < 0.001). The scaled metabolic rate by allometry (RMR/kilograms0.73) was similar in the low-, normal-, and high-BMI groups, respectively (p = 0.45). Changes in tgest TEE closely paralleled changes in tgest RMR (r = 0.84, p < 0.001). AEE was similar among the BMI groups. Conclusion: The RMR is significantly increased in the third trimester of pregnancy. The absolute gestational RMR is higher in women with high prepregnancy BMI due to increased body weight. The scaled metabolic rate (RMR/kilograms0.73) is similar among the BMI groups of pregnant women.


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