Pregnancy Outcome in the Obese Nigerian

  • Samuel N Obi Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Abakaliki, Nigeria
  • Ejike A Obute Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Abakaliki, Nigeria
Keywords: Pregnancy, obesity, outcome, Nigeria


Background: An adult is considered obese if the body mass index (BMI) is 27Kg/m2 or more. Until now, obesity has been a problem of developed countries, but it is gradually spreading to the developing world. This is a cause for concern since obesity is a predisposing factor for many chronic diseases that will in turn affect pregnancy.
Objectives: This study was undertaken to determine the influence of obesity on pregnancy outcome.
Study Design And Setting: A prospective study in a federal medical centre.
Method: Between January 1999 and December 2001, 220 pregnant women with BMI of 27kg/m2 or more who registered for antenatal care at federal medical centre were identified. A control group (BMI less than 27kg/m2 ) matched for age, educational status, parity and social class were selected and various maternal and perinatal variables were compared between the groups.
Results: Antenatal attendances by both groups were generally poor and ignorance was a major factor. Obesity was associated with increasing parity and higher social class. It frequently results in an increased incidence of hypertension (p=0.0001), diabetes mellitus (p=0.0001), caesarean section (p<0.0001), obstructed labour (p=0.02) and prolonged duration of hospital stay (p<0.0001). Also the babies of these obese mothers are significantly more likely to have adverse perinatal outcome including macrosomia (58.2% Vs 12% p<0.0001), birth asphyxia (27.3% Vs 9% p<0.0001), birth trauma (10% Vs 1% p<0.0001), neonatal admission to intensive care unit (31.8% Vs 2.5% p<0.0001) and higher perinatal mortality (10.5% Vs 2% p=0.0004).
Conclusion: Pregnancy in obese women presents a certain amount of risk and there is need for close surveillance to reduce these obesity-related complications in pregnancy. This is achievable through multidisciplinary antenatal management involving the obstetrician, physician, neonatologist, dietitian and the social health worker.
Key Words: Pregnancy, obesity, outcome, Nigeria.
[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2004;21:32-35]

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