More new discoveries about pregnancy; earlier this week we learned that postpartum depression also affects the father and now a new study shows that poor pregnancy outcomes are linked to increased BMI before pregnancy or in the early stages of pregnancy.
Women who have a high BMI (body mass index) before pregnancy or in the early stages of pregnancy have a higher risk of fetal death, infant death than women with a normal BMI, says a study published in JAMA.
Increased BMI leads to Poor Pregnancy Outcomes
This isn’t the first study to show a link between increased BMI and poor pregnancy outcomes, but it is the first one that aimed and succeeded to establish the ideal pre-pregnancy BMI that will prevent the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, such as neonatal death, fetal death, perinatal death and still birth.
The research team, from the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, was led by Dagfinn Aune, gathered their information from 38 studies that reported on poor pregnancy outcomes and maternal BMI. The studies included the following: 11,294 neonatal deaths, 10,147 fetal deaths, 4,311 perinatal deaths, 16, 273 stillbirths and 4,983 infant deaths. The women were grouped into five BMI groups: severely obese (BMI between 40 and 45), moderately obese (BMI between 35 and 40), obese (BMI between 30 and 35), overweight (BMI between 25 and 30) and normal weight (18.5 and 25).
After all the data was carefully analyzed, the scientists discovered that even small increases in BMI were connected to poor pregnancy outcomes, such as still birth and infant death and also, the obvious, that severely obese women, with a BMI over 40, have the greater risk of having a poor pregnancy outcome – two or three times greater than that of women with a BMI of 20. These findings all point to the optimal pre-pregnancy BMI, which should be between 18.5 and 25.
Although there is a need for further studies to determine the exact reasons why women with a high BMI experience poor pregnancy outcomes, past studies point at the fact that overweight or obese women have increased risk of developing gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and congenital anomalies. All these conditions have also been connected to a higher risk of infant and fetal death.
What are your thoughts on these findings? Does it shock you that an increased BMI is linked to poor pregnancy outcomes? Share your thoughts on the matter below in the comment section, we would love to hear what you have to say about this study.