Retrospective cohort study on weight gain among pregnant women of the Italian province of Trento during the 2020 lockdown due to COVID-19
Objective. The lockdown due to COVID-19 has been associated with a reduction of physical activity and a change in eating behaviors, with consequent weight gain, in general and specific populations. The objective of this study was to assess whether women whose pregnancies encompassed the lockdown due to COVID-19 in 2020 had an excess gestational weight gain as compared with those who were pregnant in the same periods of previous years.
Materials and Methods. This was a retrospective cohort study based on anonymous data from the Birth Attendance Certificate (CedAP) information flow which is mandatorily collected in all Italian Regions. In the Autonomous Province of Trento, North-Eastern Italy, more information than those required as a minimum data set are collected, including maternal weight at the first gestational obstetric visit, initial body mass index (BMI), and maternal weight at delivery. We calculated mean gestational weight gain for women whose pregnancy encompassed the 2-month lockdown in 2020 and for those who were pregnant in corresponding periods of the years 2016-2019. Linear and logistic regression models were built to assess the association between lockdown and weight gain or excess weight gain, respectively, adjusting for the potential confounding effect of gestational month at the beginning of lockdown or corresponding period and pre-pregnancy body mass index.
Results. In 2020, mean gestational weight gain was not significantly different from the previous years, nor was the likelihood of gaining excess weight.
Conclusions. Unlike other populations that increased weight during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Italian population of pregnant women described in this study has a gestational weight gain comparable with that of the previous years.
Public health and environmental interventions, as well as dedicated programs taking care of women from conception to post-partum may have a role in the health of future mothers and should be promoted.