Pregnant women with a body mass index (BMI) that is too high or too low are more likely to have maternal complications, require additional hospital care and incur higher medical costs, according to a new study published today (18 September) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
The study was carried out in collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland. It used routine obstetric records in Scotland, between 2003-2010, to investigate the impact of pregnant women's BMI on clinical complications, the number and duration of hospital admissions and short-term healthcare costs to the NHS.
The 109,592 pregnant women examined in the study were classed in five BMI categories, underweight (BMI <18.5), normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9), overweight (BMI 25-29.9), obese (BMI 30-35) and severely obese (BMI >35).
Data from the analysis showed that the risk of maternal complications increased with BMI and, when compared to normal weight women, severely obese women had a three-fold increased risk of hypertension (2.6% vs 7.8%) and gestational diabetes (0.1% vs 3%).
Furthermore, when compared to normal weight women, all other weight categories showed an increase in the duration and number of maternal hospital admissions required after the birth. Underweight women had an 8% increased risk for admission, while overweight, obese and severely obese women's risk grew substantially more, 16%, 45% and 88% respectively.
The additional maternity costs, for women with high or low BMI, were also higher when compared to the standard maternal health service cost for women of normal weight. The estimated additional cost for underweight women was 102.3, overweight women 59.9, obese women 202.5 and severely obese women 350.8.
Dr Fiona Denison, Tommy's Centre for Maternal and Fetal Health, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health,
|Contact: Caitlin Walsh|