Obesity unrelated to chronic disease in pregnant women is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, according to research published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Sung Soo Kim, PhD, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of women without chronic disease who had singleton deliveries (n=112,309).

“Obstetric risks were variable (and mostly marginally) increased as body mass index category and obesity class increased,” said Dr Kim. “In particular, the risk of gestational hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes, cesarean delivery, and induction increased in a dose-response fashion.”

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Among women with class III obesity, gestational diabetes was 14.6% compared to women with a normal BMI (2.6%). Neonatal risks increased in a dose-response fashion based on maternal BMI, including preterm birth (less than 32 weeks) and ICU admission. The number of large gestational age neonates increased from 7.9% in women with normal BMIs to 17.3% among obese class III women.

“Pregnancy obesity is associated with increased risks of a wide range of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes,” Dr Kim concluded.


  1. Kim SS, Zhu Y, Grantz KL, et al. Obstetric and neonatal risks among obese women without chronic disease. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;128(1):104-112; doi: 10.1097/AOG0000000000001465