Birthweight and early pregnancy body mass index may risk pregnancy complications

Women who were born with a low birthweight are at increased risk of pregnancy complications, according to a new Obesity study. The findings suggest that women who were born small may have been affected by unfavourable intrauterine conditions, and the physiological demands of pregnancy may act as a “second hit” leading to pregnancy complications.

In the study of 5,336 women, those who reported a birthweight under 2500g had a 1.7 times higher risk of developing preeclampsia during pregnancy compared with those who had a birthweight of 3000-3499g. Women who reported a birthweight of 3500- 3999g or a birthweight of 4000g or higher had a 40 percent reduced risk of preeclampsia compared with the control group. Also, women who reported a low birthweight were at increased risk of developing gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes compared with women who had a normal birthweight.

Risks were especially high for women who had a low birthweight but subsequently became overweight or obese.

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