Pregnancy BMI associated with risks of maternal morbidity and mortality

FRIDAY, July 8, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Obesity in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of severe maternal morbidity and/or mortality, according to a study published online June 28 JAMA network open.

Heather A. Frey, MD, of Ohio State University at Columbus, and colleagues studied the association between prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) and severe maternal morbidity and/or mortality one year after birth. The analysis included data from vital records and associated Medicaid claim data from Ohio from 2012 through 2017 (347,497 pregnancies among 276,691 Medicaid beneficiaries).

The researchers found that being overweight (adjusted relative risk 1.07) and obese (adjusted relative risk 1.19, 1.37, and 1.71 for class 1, 2, and 3, respectively) compared to a healthy BMI with a morbidity and/or mortality during pregnancy up to one year after birth. When follow-up was limited to 42 days postpartum or hospitalization at delivery, similar results were observed. About 65 percent of the association between obesity and the primary outcome was mediated by hypertension.

“The results of this study suggest that prevention and treatment of hypertension in pregnancy can reduce morbidity and mortality in individuals with obesity,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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