Pregestational excess weight, maternal obstetric complications and mode of delivery in the Rhea cohort in Crete

Eur J Public Health. 2015 Aug;25(4):632-7. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/cku246. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


Background: There has been a significant increase in overweight and obesity worldwide reaching global epidemic, with dramatic increase also among women of reproductive age or entering pregnancy. Aims of the study were to estimate the prevalence of maternal pregestational overweight and obesity and their association with and contribution to maternal obstetric complications and mode of delivery.

Methods: One thousand two hundred eighty-six women with singleton pregnancies were followed-up prospectively from early pregnancy to delivery in Crete.

Results: The prevalence of pre-pregnancy overweight and obesity were 20 and 11.5%, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, overweight and/or obesity were associated with an increased risk for caesarean deliveries [RR(overweight_vs._normal) BMI = 1.21, 95% CI (1.06, 1.38), RR(obese_vs._normal) BMI = 1.21, 95% CI (1.02, 1.42)], gestational diabetes mellitus [RR(obese_vs._normal) BMI = 2.11, 95% CI (1.28, 3.47)] and high blood pressure [RR(severy.obese_vs._normal) BMI = 3.32, 95% CI (1.36, 8.06)] any time in pregnancy. Pre-pregnancy excess weight has potentially contributed to 21% of planned caesarean deliveries in primiparae (almost 45% of such cases among overweight/obese primiparea were potentially attributed to pregestational excess weight). One-third of gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes cases among overweight/obese mothers could be attributed to pregestational excess weight, although results did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusions: Pregestational overweight and obesity continued to increase even more in recent years. Findings further support that maternal excess weight has a significant effect on and contribution to multiple maternal obstetric complications and the mode of delivery, underlining the necessity of obesity prevention, health policy strategies and health care that can result in significant individual and societal benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies