The association between gestational weight gain z-score and stillbirth: A case-control study

Cassandra M. Pickens, Carol J. Hogue, Penelope P. Howards, Michael R. Kramer, Martina L. Badell, Donald J. Dudley, Robert M. Silver, Robert L. Goldenberg, Halit Pinar, George R. Saade, Michael W. Varner, Barbara J. Stoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: There is limited information on potentially modifiable risk factors for stillbirth, such as gestational weight gain (GWG). Our purpose was to explore the association between GWG and stillbirth using the GWG z-score. Methods: We analyzed 479 stillbirths and 1601 live births from the Stillbirth Collaborative Research Network case-control study. Women with triplets or monochorionic twins were excluded from analysis. We evaluated the association between GWG z-score (modeled as a restricted cubic spline with knots at the 5th, 50th, and 95th percentiles) and stillbirth using multivariable logistic regression with generalized estimating equations, adjusting for pre - pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and other confounders. In addition, we conducted analyses stratified by pre - pregnancy BMI category (normal weight, overweight, obese). Results: Mean GWG was 18.95 (SD 17.6) lb. among mothers of stillbirths and 30.89 (SD 13.3) lb. among mothers of live births; mean GWG z-score was - 0.39 (SD 1.5) among mothers of cases and - 0.17 (SD 0.9) among control mothers. In adjusted analyses, the odds of stillbirth were elevated for women with very low GWG z-scores (e.g., adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% Confidence Interval (CI) for z-score - 1.5 SD versus 0 SD: 1.52 (1.30, 1.78); aOR (95% CI) for z-score - 2.5 SD versus 0 SD: 2.36 (1.74, 3.20)). Results differed slightly by pre - pregnancy BMI. The odds of stillbirth were slightly elevated among women with overweight BMI and GWG z-scores ≥1 SD (e.g., aOR (95% CI) for z-score of 1.5 SD versus 0 SD: 1.84 (0.97, 3.50)). Conclusions: GWG z-scores below - 1.5 SD are associated with increased odds of stillbirth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number451
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 29 2019


  • Fetal death
  • Gestational weight gain
  • Obesity
  • Stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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