Overweight and obesity in Australian mothers: Epidemic or endemic?

University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
The Medical journal of Australia (Impact Factor: 4.09). 02/2012; 196(3):184-8. DOI: 10.5694/mja11.11120
Source: PubMed


To document temporal trends in maternal overweight and obesity in Australian women and to examine associations with pregnancy outcomes.
Retrospective 12-year cohort study of 75 432 women with singleton pregnancies who had pre-pregnancy height and weight data available and who gave birth in a tertiary referral maternity hospital in Brisbane between January 1998 and December 2009.
Maternal body mass index (BMI); prevalence of overweight and obesity, and pregnancy complications including hypertension, gestational diabetes, caesarean delivery, and perinatal morbidity and mortality.
From 1998 to 2009, class III and class II obesity increased significantly (from 1.2% to 2.0%, and 2.5% to 3.2%, respectively), while the proportions of underweight women and those with class I obesity fell slightly (from 7.9% to 7.4%, and 7.7% to 7.5%, respectively). Increasing maternal BMI was associated with many adverse pregnancy outcomes, including hypertension in pregnancy, gestational diabetes, caesarean delivery, perinatal mortality (stillbirth and neonatal death), babies who were large for gestational age, and neonatal morbidities including hypoglycaemia, jaundice, respiratory distress and the need for neonatal intensive care (P < 0.001 for all). Most associations remained significant after adjusting for maternal age, parity, insurance status, smoking status, ethnicity and year of the birth. The frequency of congenital anomalies was not associated with maternal BMI (P = 0.71).
Maternal overweight and obesity are endemic challenges for Australian obstetric care and are associated with serious maternal and neonatal complications, including perinatal mortality.

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    • "In Australia, over 46% of women are either overweight or obese at the start of pregnancy, and one-third gain excessive weight during pregnancy [4] [5]. Retention of extra weight postpartum is also common [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Overwhelming evidence reveals the close link between unwarranted weight gain among childbearing women and childhood adiposity. Yet current barriers limit the capacity of perinatal health care providers (PHCPs) to offer healthy lifestyle counselling. In response, today's Internet savvy women are turning to online resources to access health information, with the potential of revolutionising health services by enabling PHCPs to guide women to appropriate online resources. This paper presents the findings of a project designed to develop an online resource to promote healthy lifestyles during the perinatal period. The methodology involved focus groups and interviews with perinatal women and PHCPs to determine what online information was needed, in what form, and how best it should be presented. The outcome was the development of the Healthy You, Healthy Baby website and smartphone app. This clinically-endorsed, interactive online resource provides perinatal women with a personalised tool to track their weight, diet, physical activity, emotional wellbeing, and sleep patterns based on the developmental stage of their child with links to quality-assured information. One year since the launch of the online resource, data indicates it provides a low-cost intervention delivered across most geographic and socioeconomic strata without additional demands on health service staff.
    Journal of obesity 04/2014; 2014(6):573928. DOI:10.1155/2014/573928
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    • "Obesity in pregnancy is increasingly common in developed nations [1] [2] [3]. This is a growing concern as maternal obesity is a risk factor for a number of adverse maternal and offspring outcomes [1, 4–12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity in the childbearing population is increasingly common. Obesity is associated with increased risk for a number of maternal and neonatal pregnancy complications. Some of these complications, such as gestational diabetes, are risk factors for long-term disease in both mother and baby. While clinical practice guidelines advocate for healthy weight prior to pregnancy, there is not a clear directive for achieving healthy weight before conception. There are known benefits to even moderate weight loss prior to pregnancy, but there are potential adverse effects of restricted nutrition during the periconceptional period. Epidemiological and animal studies point to differences in offspring conceived during a time of maternal nutritional restriction. These include changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, body composition, glucose metabolism, and cardiovascular function. The periconceptional period is therefore believed to play an important role in programming offspring physiological function and is sensitive to nutritional insult. This review summarizes the evidence to date for offspring programming as a result of maternal periconception weight loss. Further research is needed in humans to clearly identify benefits and potential risks of losing weight in the months before conceiving. This may then inform us of clinical practice guidelines for optimal approaches to achieving a healthy weight before pregnancy.
    Journal of obesity 04/2014; 2014(2):204295. DOI:10.1155/2014/204295
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    • "Women who are underweight at conception are at risk of fetal growth restriction, premature delivery and low birth weight [4-7]. At the other end of the BMI spectrum, maternal obesity is commonly associated with a plethora of risks that generally increase with degree of overweight including hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, induction of labour, caesarean delivery, large for gestational age (LGA, birth weight >90th after adjustment for gender and gestational age) and preterm birth [4,8-11]. Avoiding the consequences of these BMI extremes by encouraging women to achieve a healthy BMI prior to their first pregnancy is a laudable goal but it is pertinent to recognise that many of these pregnancies are largely unplanned. "
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    ABSTRACT: The inter-pregnancy period is considered a teachable moment when women are receptive to weight- management guidance aimed at optimising pregnancy outcome in subsequent pregnancies. In population based studies inter-pregnancy weight change is associated with several adverse pregnancy outcomes but the impact on placental size is unknown. The association between inter-pregnancy weight change and the primary risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in the second pregnancy was investigated in 12,740 women with first two consecutive deliveries at a single hospital using logistic regression. Compared with women who were weight stable, weight loss (>1BMI unit) between pregnancies was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery, low placental weight and small for gestational age (SGA) birth, while weight gain (>3BMI units) increased the risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension, emergency caesarean section, placental oversize and large for gestational age (LGA) birth at the second pregnancy. The relationship between weight gain and pre-eclampsia risk was evident in women who were overweight at first pregnancy only (BMI >=25 units), while that between weight loss and preterm delivery was confined to women with a healthy weight at first pregnancy (BMI <25 units). In contrast, the association between weight loss and SGA was independent of first pregnancy BMI. A higher percentage of women who were obese at first pregnancy were likely to experience a large weight gain (P < 0.01) or weight loss (P < 0.001) between consecutive pregnancies compared with the normal BMI reference group. Inter-pregnancy weight change in either direction increases the risk of a number of contrasting pregnancy complications, including extremes of placental weight. The placenta may lie on the causal pathway between BMI change and the risk of LGA or SGA birth.
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 01/2014; 14(1):40. DOI:10.1186/1471-2393-14-40 · 2.19 Impact Factor
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