Women with low birth weight at risk of pregnancy complications


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Women born with a low birth weight are at increased risk of pregnancy complications, according to a new study published in the journal Obesity.

The study investigated the influence of birth weight on the risk of pregnancy complications among 5,327 nulliparous women from the international SCreening fOr Pregnancy Endpoints (SCOPE) study. It also assessed the effect of early pregnancy body mass index (BMI). 

It found those who reported a birth weight under 2500 g had an increased risk of gestational hypertension (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.2; 95% CI 1.3-3.7), small for gestational age pregnancy (aOR 1.9; 95% CI 1.1-3.2), preeclampsia (aOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.0-2.9) and gestational diabetes (aOR 2.4; 95% CI 1.0-5.8) compared with those with a birth weight of 3000-3499 g. Risks of developing gestational hypertension, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes were especially high for women who had a low birth weight but subsequently became overweight or obese. 

The authors suggest further studies assessing the influence of modifiable factors including diet and exercise on the relationship between low birth weight and pregnancy complications “may yield important results on whether modifiable lifestyle factors could reduce the risk of pregnancy complications among those born small”.

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