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Pregnancy Complications Up for Women Born at Low Birth Weight

Risk greatest for women born with birth weight <2,500 g who develop overweight/obesity

FRIDAY, Dec. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women born with a low birth weight have an increased risk for pregnancy complications, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Obesity.

Prabha H. Andraweera, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and colleagues examined the influence of birth weight on the risk for pregnancy complications among 5,336 nulliparous women from the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints study. Women’s birth weights were self-reported; when possible, they were confirmed via medical records. The reference birth weight was 3,000 g to 3,499 g.

The researchers found that compared with the referent, birth weight <2,500 g was associated with an increased risk for gestational hypertension (GH), small for gestational age, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) after adjustment for confounders (adjusted odds ratios, 2.2, 1.9, and 2.4, respectively). Compared with women who were born with birth weight ≥2,500 g and remained lean, those born with birth weight <2,500 g who subsequently developed overweight or were diagnosed with obesity were at an increased risk for GH, preeclampsia, and GDM (adjusted odds ratios, 2.2, 2.3, and 3.2, respectively).

“Further studies assessing the influence of such factors, including diet and exercise, on the relationship between low birth weight and pregnancy complications may yield important results on whether modifiable lifestyle factors could reduce the risk of pregnancy complications among those born small,” the authors write.

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