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 Mentor

Tiffany A. Moore Simas

Publication Date


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.


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

DOI of Published Version



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

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Maternal and child health journal


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

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID