Results from a recent study published in the journal BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth confirm that metabolic complications, as well as other prenatal, perinatal, and obstetrical complications are associated with pre-pregnancy obesity.
Obesity is a risk factor in pregnancy and complicates obstetric and maternity care, having been associated with greater risk of maternal morbidity, infertility, and complications of labor and delivery. In early pregnancy there is an increased risk of spontaneous abortion and congenital anomalies, while in later gestation, gestational hypertensive disorders (preeclampsia, eclampsia) and diabetes are clinically recognized, which present metabolic like complication of pregnancy in women with obesity.
To describe the relationship between maternal complications and pre-pregnancy maternal weight, in the study entitled “Relationship between maternal obesity and prenatal, metabolic syndrome, obstetrical and perinatal complications of pregnancy in Indiana, 2008–2010,” Shingairai A Feresu from the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Track, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria in South Africa, and colleagues examined data of birth certificates for live births from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) taken from the Vital Statistics registry on all births that occurred in the state of Indiana between 2008 and 2010, with complete information on the mother body mass index (BMI) (N = 255,773).
The researchers assessed the risk of reproductive factors, obstetrical and perinatal complications for obese, overweight, healthy weight, and underweight women.
Results revealed that women who received prenatal care were more likely to be obese, and women with parity of zero (0) were less likely to have obesity. Women giving birth to twins, those delivering by cesarean section, and those who previously had a cesarean section were more likely to have obesity.
In this population, the researchers found evidence of metabolic-like complications due to obesity. The results also revealed an association between obesity and obstetrical conditions of the metabolic syndrome, including pre-pregnancy diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-pregnancy hypertension, gestational diabetes, and eclampsia. Maternal obesity increased the risk of prolonged labor, induction, epidural and post-delivery bleeding. Obese women were less likely to have blood transfusions, vaginal tears or infections.
“Our results suggest that maternal obesity in Indiana, like in other populations in the USA, is associated with high risks of maternal complications for pregnant women. Pre-pregnancy obesity prevention efforts should focus on targeting children, adolescent and young women, if the goal to reduce the risk of maternal complications-related obesity, is to be reached,” the researchers concluded, as noted in a press release.