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Research highlights problems of predicting birthweights in obese mothers
Date:7/9/2008

a simple visual ultrasound is less accurate in obese women, we need to use any measurements that we can glean from the ultrasound to predict the birth weight."

Dr Thornburg and her colleagues looked at 357 pregnant women who were obese, according to their self-reported weight before pregnancy, and 1,025 who were normal weight. All were carrying a single baby and their average age was 27.

61 per cent of the normal weight control group were white or Hispanic and 36 per cent were black. In the obese group the figures were 53 per cent and 46 per cent respectively.

The obese women were divided into three groups.

  • Class one contained the 45 per cent of women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 30 and 34.9.
  • Class two contained the 29 per cent of women with a BMI of between 35 and 40.
  • Class three contained the 26 per cent of women who were morbidly obese, with BMIs ranging from 40 to 58. 17 per cent had a BMI of more than 50.

The researchers used the GAP method to compare the estimated birth weight, based on scans taken between weeks 34 and 36 of the woman's pregnancy with the baby's weight on delivery. The data was then collated for the normal weight control group and the three obese groups.

Overall the GAP method was able to predict the birth weight within 20 per cent in 93 to 95 per cent of cases, within 15 per cent in 82 to 86 per cent of cases and within 10 per cent in 59 to 70 per cent of cases. This indicates that the overall accuracy levels between the normal weight control group and the obese patients were very similar in most cases. The researchers did note, however, that the largest errors between predicted and actual birth weight occurred in women in the most obese group.

Most importantly, the researchers were also able to rule out the risk of a high birth-weight baby in over 80 per cent of cases, regardless of the mother's BMI.

There was also a clear link be
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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