Retrospective cohort study of the effects of obesity in early pregnancy on maternal weight gain and obstetric outcomes in an obstetric population in Africa
Chukwuemeka A Iyoke,1 George O Ugwu,1 Frank O Ezugwu,2 Osaheni L Lawani,3 Azubuike K Onyebuchi3
1Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, 2Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Enugu, 3Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare maternal weight gain in pregnancy and obstetric outcomes between women with obesity in early pregnancy and those with a normal body mass index (BMI) in early pregnancy.
Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of women with obesity in early pregnancy and those with a normal BMI who were seen at three teaching hospitals in South-East Nigeria. Statistical analysis was performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 17.0 software, with descriptive and inferential statistics at the 95% level of confidence.
Results: The study sample consisted of 648 women (324 obese and 324 healthy-weight). The mean age of the obese women was 26.7 ± 5.1 years and that of the healthy-weight women was 26.6 ± 4.9 years. Although both excessive weight gain (odds ratio [OR] 0.35, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23–0.54) and inadequate weight gain (OR 0.08, 95% CI 0.04–0.15) were less common in women with early pregnancy obesity than in healthy-weight women, a significantly higher proportion of obese women with excessive weight gain had adverse fetomaternal outcomes. Also, a significantly higher proportion of obese women had specific complications, such as premature rupture of membranes (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.12–5.04), gestational hypertension/pre-eclampsia (OR 2.31, 95% CI 1.12–5.04), antepartum hemorrhage (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.02–7.93), gestational diabetes (OR 4.24, 95% CI 1.62–11.74), cesarean delivery (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2–5.44), macrosomia (OR 4.08, 95% CI 1.06–8.41), severe birth asphyxia (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2–6.63), abnormal Apgar scores (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.46–4.93), and newborn special care admissions (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.0–3.29).
Conclusion: Early pregnancy obesity was associated with a wide range of adverse fetomaternal outcomes, and could be a genuine risk factor for increased pregnancy-related morbidity and/or mortality in this population. Interventions to reduce prepregnancy obesity could therefore be useful in this low-resource African setting.
Keywords: obesity, early pregnancy, maternal weight gain, obstetric outcomes
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