Maternal obesity and risk of stillbirth: a metaanalysis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 Sep;197(3):223-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.03.027.


We conducted this metaanalysis to summarize the available epidemiologic evidence on the relationship between maternal overweight and obesity and the risk of stillbirth. We identified studies from 3 sources: (1) a PubMed search of relevant articles that were published between January 1980 and September 2005, (2) reference lists of publications that were selected from the PubMed search, and (3) reference lists of review articles on obesity and maternal outcomes that were published between 2000 and 2005. We used a Bayesian random effects model to perform the metaanalysis and metaregression. Nine studies were included in the metaanalysis. The unadjusted odds ratios of a stillbirth were 1.47 (95% CI, 1.08-1.94) and 2.07 (95% CI, 1.59-2.74) among overweight and obese pregnant women, respectively, compared with normal-weight pregnant women. The metaregression analysis found no evidence that these estimates were affected by selected study characteristics. Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, although the mechanisms to explain this association are not clear.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Risk
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology