Senior Scholars Program


Comparison of Self-reported and Measured Pre-pregnancy Weight: Implications for Gestational Weight Gain Counseling

UMMS Affiliation

School of Medicine; Senior Scholars Program; Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Tiffany A. Moore Simas



Document Type



Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Maternal and Child Health | Medical Education | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Women's Health


Objectives: To examine clinical and demographic characteristics associated with availability of self-reported and measured pre-pregnancy weight, differences in these parameters, and characteristics associated with self-report accuracy.

Methods: Retrospective cohort of 7483 women who delivered at a large academic medical center between 2011 and 2014. Measured pre-pregnancy weights recorded within a year of conception and self-reported pre-pregnancy weights reported anytime during pregnancy were abstracted from electronic medical records. Difference in weights was calculated as self-reported minus measured pre-pregnancy weight. Logistic and linear regression models estimated associations between demographic and clinical characteristics, and presence of self-reported and measured weights, and weight differences.

Results: 42.2% of women had both self-reported and measured pre-pregnancy weight, 49.7% had only self-reported, and 2.8% had only measured. Compared to white women, black women and women of other races/ethnicities were less likely to have self-reported weight, and black, Asian, and Hispanic women, and women of other races/ethnicities were less likely to have measured weights. For 85%, pre-pregnancy BMI categorized by self-reported and measured weights were concordant. Primiparas and multiparas were more likely to underreport their weight compared to nulliparas (b = -1.32 lbs, 95% CI -2.24 to -0.41 lbs and b = -2.74 lbs, 95% CI -3.82 to -1.67 lbs, respectively).

Discussion: Utilization of self-reported or measured pre-pregnancy weight for pre-pregnancy BMI classification results in identical categorization for the majority of women. Providers may wish to account for underreporting for patients with a BMI close to category cutoff by recommending a range of gestational weight gain that falls within recommendations for both categories where feasible.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed


This paper stems from work from Senior Scholars students Jess Masiero (2013-2014), Julie Stone nee Tabroff (2013-2014), and Elizabeth Scannell (2012-2013).


Matern Child Health J. 2017 Feb 2. doi: 10.1007/s10995-017-2266-3. [Epub ahead of print]


Pre-pregnancy, BMI, Self-reported weight, Prenatal care


Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

PubMed ID