Fatter mothers behind rise in perinatal complications

The increasing BMI of first-time pregnant women is behind a rise in adverse perinatal outcomes over a 25 year time period, a new retrospective Australian study suggests.

Analysing data from one major Sydney teaching hospital, researchers found that the prevalence of overweight among women having their first baby increased from 12.7% in 1990-94 to 16.4% in 2010-14, and that of obesity rose from 4.8% to 7.3%.

More importantly they found this increase in BMI was associated with a range of adverse perinatal outcomes particularly pre-eclampsia, macrosomia and gestational diabetes. Other complications believed to have increased as a result of the maternal weight gain included caesarean deliveries, post partum haemorrhage, prematurity, admission to the special care nursery and fetal abnormalities.

“We found that a substantial proportion of the burden of adverse perinatal outcomes for Australian women is linked to maternal overweight and obesity, and that this proportion has steadily increased over the past 25 years, ” the Sydney researchers said.

The study involved the analysis of the data recorded on over 42000 singleton births delivered to previously nulliparous women at ...

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