Objective: To compare the incidence of antenatal and intrapartum complications and neonatal outcomes among pre-pregnant obese women.
Methods: At the Sud-Reunion Hospital’s maternity, Reunion Islands, France, over a 54-month period, each obese pregnant woman (BMI $ 30 kg/m²) delivering a singleton after 22-weeks gestation was compared to the next age and parity-matched woman of normal pre-pregnancy weight (BMI 18.5–25 kg/m²), who delivered after the index case. The Students t test, Mann and Whitney test, Chi-square test and logistic regression model were used for statistical analysis.
Results: The study enrolled 2081 obese women and 2081 controls. The incidences of pre-eclampsia, chronic and pregnancy-induced hypertension, chronic and gestational diabetes mellitus were increased in the obese women group. Prenatal care in obese women required a high rate of hospitalizations as well as a high rate of insulin treatment. Obese women were more likely to be delivered by Caesarean section. The rate of in utero fetal death, neonatal and perinatal death was significantly higher in the obese women group. The high BMI in relation with both pre-eclampsia and in utero fetal death remained unchanged after adjustment of other risk factors.
Conclusion: Obese women were more likely to present several obstetric complications and to be delivered by Caesarean section. Obstetricians who decide on a first Caesarean section in an obese woman should be aware of the cumulated obesity and uterine scar risks that could threaten any subsequent Caesarean section.