Maternal Obesity during Pregnancy linked to increased Risk of premature Death in Adult Offspring

The offspring of overweight mothers also have a higher risk of adverse outcomes

Maternal obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death in adult offspring. As one in five women in the United Kingdom is obese at antenatal booking, strategies to optimise weight before pregnancy are urgently required.

  • Video by The BMJ, Published on 14 Aug 2013
  • Objectives:
    To determine whether maternal obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular events in adult offspring.
  • Design: Record linkage cohort analysis.
  • Setting:
    Birth records from the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal databank linked to the General Register of Deaths, Scotland, and the Scottish Morbidity Record systems.
  • Population:
    37 709 people with birth records from 1950 to present day.
  • Main outcome measures:
    Death and hospital admissions for cardiovascular events up to 1 January 2012 in offspring aged 34-61. Maternal body mass index (BMI) was calculated from height and weight measured at the first antenatal visit. The effect of maternal obesity on outcomes in offspring was tested with time to event analysis with Cox proportional hazard regression to compare outcomes in offspring of mothers in underweight, overweight, or obese categories of BMI compared with offspring of women with normal BMI.
  • Results:
    All cause mortality was increased in offspring of obese mothers (BMI >30) compared with mothers with normal BMI after adjustment for maternal age at delivery, socioeconomic status, sex of offspring, current age, birth weight, gestation at delivery, and gestation at measurement of BMI (hazard ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.55). In adjusted models, offspring of obese mothers also had an increased risk of hospital admission for a cardiovascular event (1.29, 1.06 to 1.57) compared with offspring of mothers with normal BMI. The offspring of overweight mothers also had a higher risk of adverse outcomes.
  • Read the BMJ full study Maternal obesity during pregnancy and premature mortality from cardiovascular event in adult offspring: follow-up of 1 323 275 person years.

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