Objective: To examine changes in skinfolds in late gestation in healthy women.
Study Design: Skinfold measures were performed in 39 women at 30.8 (mean) and 37.7 weeks gestation. Fat mass (kg) and sum of three skinfolds were calculated.
Results: A decrease in skinfold thickness was observed in 21 women (−3.1±2.1 mm) in late gestation, whereas 18 women had an increase (4.3±3.2 mm), P<0.001. The group of women who lost body fat (decrease in skinfold thickness) had a trend toward greater pregravid body mass index (BMI, 25 vs 22 kg/m2, P=0.06), and gained less weight in late gestation (3.0 vs 4.3 kg, P=0.042). On multiple regression, maternal age and gestational weight gain were positively correlated with fat mass accrual, whereas pregravid BMI and dietary fiber were negative determinants of late gestational fat mass.
Conclusion: Increases in maternal fat mass in late gestation were related to maternal age and gestational weight gain, whereas decreases were related to increased pregravid BMI and dietary fiber.