Association of body mass index with maternal mortality


  • Heather Mason
  • Univadis Medical News
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A study conducted to understand maternal mortality in women with obesity revealed that the risk of maternal death increases with body mass index (BMI), according to results published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The analysis included 364 cases of maternal deaths and 14,681 controls from a representative sample of parturients. Pre-pregnancy BMI was defined as underweight (BMI /m2), normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m2), class 1 obesity (BMI 30-34.9 kg/m2), and class 2-3 obesity (BMI ≥35 kg/m2).

The results show that compared with women with normal BMI, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) of death for underweight women was 0.75; for overweight women was 1.65; for women with class 1 obesity was 2.22; and for those with class 2-3 obesity it was 3.40. Analysis by cause showed significant excess risk of maternal death due to cardiovascular diseases, venous thromboembolism, hypertensive complications, and stroke in women with obesity.

These findings revealed that the risk of maternal death was multiplied by 1.6 in overweight women and more than tripled in pregnant women with severe obesity. Training clinicians in the specificities of care for pregnant women with obesity could improve their outcomes, the authors conclude.