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Open Access Research article

Obesity and pregnancy: a transversal study from a low-risk maternity

Ana Carolina S Calderon, Silvana M Quintana, Alessandra C Marcolin, Aderson T Berezowski, Luiz Gustavo O Brito, Geraldo Duarte and Ricardo C Cavalli*

Author Affiliations

Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, University of São Paulo (FMRP-USP), Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900 8th floor, Ribeirão Preto 14049-900 SP, Monte Alegre, Brazil

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:249  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-249

Published: 28 July 2014



Obesity is a public health problem and is increasing in all populations, including pregnant women. It influences maternal and neonatal outcomes; however, data are scarce in developing countries. We aimed to compare perinatal results between obese and non-obese pregnant women in a low-risk maternity.


Transversal study of 1,779 40-week-pregnancies from 2005 to 2009 that completed a standard questionnaire with sociodemographic, obstetrical and neonatal variables and performed an ultrasound with amniotic fluid index (AFI) measurement and foetal vitality (FBP, non-stress test). They were analysed about their association with obesity on pregnancy.


When compared with non-obese women, the group of obese patients had higher systolic (118.1 vs 109.2 mmHg; p < 0.01) and diastolic (76.6 vs 70.4 mmHg; p < 0.01) pressure levels, AFI (12.52 vs. 9.61 cm; p = 0.02), presence of meconium on labour (20.52 vs. 14.67%; p = 0.02), birthweight (3602 vs. 3437 g; p < 0.01) and caesarean section (39.74 vs. 29.98%, p < 0.01).


Labour induction before 40 weeks in the antenatal period associated with foetal weight estimation should be considered as a recommendation for decreasing high percentages of caesarean delivery found in obese women.

Obesity; Pregnancy; Perinatal care; Induction of labour