Nav: Home

Young women's gradual weight gain lifts pregnancy blood pressure danger

May 16, 2017

University of Queensland research has shown that gradual weight gain during a woman's reproductive years can more than double her risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.

School of Public Health researcher Akilew Adane said this and other maternal health research added to the evidence that parents and clinicians should think of pre-pregnancy health across the entire reproductive stage of women's lives, "not just the year before starting a family".

Mr Adane said the increased risk due to weight change and occurred regardless of whether the woman's body mass index (BMI) was initially categorised as healthy or overweight.

He said hypertensive disorders such as high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia were common complications for pregnant women and led to an increased risk of chronic high blood pressure in later life.

"High blood pressure in pregnancy can progress to pre-eclampsia, a potentially fatal complication and one of the leading causes of pre-term birth and low birth weight due to intra-uterine growth restriction," Mr Adane said.

"The leading avoidable risk factor for hypertensive disorders is having a body mass index (BMI) over 30 when you become pregnant."

Very little was known about the relationship between hypertensive disorders and weight changes in the years leading up to pregnancy, so researchers set out to investigate the links.

For 13 years they tracked the weight and pregnancy health of 2914 Australian women born between 1973 and 1978 as part of the Women's Health Australia study (also known as the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health).

"We found that women who were obese just prior to pregnancy tripled their risk of developing hypertensive disorders compared to women in the healthy BMI category," Mr Adane said.

"In the years leading up to pregnancy, women with moderate to high annual weight gains of more than 2.5 per cent of their body weight had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing HDP than those whose weight remained stable.

"Small annual weight gains of 1.5 to 2.5 per cent still resulted in a 1.7 times higher risk of developing HDP.

Mr Adane said women who lost more than 1.5 per cent of body weight between the average ages of 20 to 24 years were 46 per cent less likely to develop hypertensive disorders.

For a 70kg woman, a small weight gain of 1.5 to 2.5 per cent of their body weight is in the range of 1.05 to 1.75 kg per year.

"It's easy to overlook a kilogram or two per year of gradual weight change but it does have long-term consequences," Mr Adane said.

"Weight loss, if necessary, and weight stabilisation in a healthy BMI range is important at any time."

The research is published in the journal of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.
-end-


University of Queensland

Related Pregnancy Articles:

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.
Opioid use disorder in pregnancy: 5 things to know
Opioid use is increasing in pregnancy as well as the general population.
Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.
New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond
The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby.
Obesity in early pregnancy linked to pregnancy complications
In a prospective study published in Obesity of 18,481 pregnant women in China who had never given birth before, obesity in early pregnancy was linked to higher risks of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and large birth weight in newborns.
Possible link between autism and antidepressants use during pregnancy
An international team led by Duke-NUS Medical School has found a potential link between autistic-like behaviour in adult mice and exposure to a common antidepressant in the womb.
Immigrant women more likely to be overweight during pregnancy
A new study in the Journal of Public Health finds that women in Norway from immigrant backgrounds are more likely to be overweight during pregnancy.
Stillbirths more likely if diabetes in pregnancy not diagnosed
Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy but are not diagnosed are much more likely to experience stillbirth than women without the condition, according to new research.
Do economic conditions affect pregnancy outcomes?
Economic downturn during early pregnancy was linked with modest increases in preterm birth in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis.
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.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.