Open Access Open Badges Research article

Early pregnancy body mass index and spontaneous preterm birth in Northwest Russia: a registry-based study

Ekaterina E Sharashova12*, Erik E Anda1 and Andrej M Grjibovski123

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway

2 International School of Public Health, Northern State Medical University, Troitski 51, office 1252, 163001 Arkhangelsk, Russia

3 Department of International Public Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Post box 4404 Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:303  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-303

Published: 4 September 2014



International studies on the association between maternal body mass index (BMI) and spontaneous preterm birth (PTB) yield controversial results warranting large studies from other settings. The aim of this article was to study association between maternal early pregnancy BMI and the risk of spontaneous PTB in Murmansk County (MC), Northwest Russia.


This is a registry-based cohort study. All women with singleton pregnancies registered at antenatal clinics during the first 12 weeks of gestation and who delivered in MC between January, 1st 2006 and December, 31st 2011 comprised the study base (n = 29,709). All women were categorized by BMI into four groups: underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal (18.5–24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25.0–29.9 kg/m2), and obese (≥30.0 kg/m2). Multivariable logistic regression was used to study associations between maternal BMI and PTB (<37 weeks) and very preterm birth (VPTB) (<32 weeks) adjusted for socio-economic factors, biological and lifestyle characteristics.


The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity were 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8-7.4), 18.3% (95% CI: 17.8-18.7) and 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8-7.4), respectively. Altogether, 5.5% (95% CI: 5.3-5.8) of the births were PTB and 0.8% (95% CI: 0.7-0.9) were VPTB. After adjustment, both underweight (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.03-1.50), overweight (OR = 1.10, 95% CI: 0.97-1.26) and obese (OR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.08-1.57) women were more likely to deliver preterm. VPTB was associated with overweight (OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.056-2.03) and obesity (OR = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.02-2.60).


The findings demonstrate a J-shaped association between first trimester maternal BMI and spontaneous PTB and VPTB with increased risk among underweight, overweight and obese women.

BMI; Obesity; Preterm birth; Russia