Irish Medical Organisation

Increase in moderate and extreme obesity in pregnancy- IMJ

Irish Medical Journal Press Release

May 2012 ■ Volume 105 ■ Number 5
Official Journal of the Irish Medical Organisation
Study finds significant increase in moderate and extreme obesity in pregnancy
Obesity is linked to complications in pregnancy and delivery according to a study published in the Irish Medical Journal, and carried out over a ten year period at Galway University Hospital.
This is a second study by Abdelmaboud and Morrison et al to consider obesity levels in pregnancies presenting at the Galway Hospital focusing on the relevance of the topic in our current economic and social setting. 
The published estimates of obesity among adult women vary from 18 to 25%, with reports from many developed countries outlining the fact that these rates have increased by at least 50% in the last decade. 
The aim of this research was to evaluate the trends in the prevalence of:
moderate or Class 2 (BMI 35.0-39.9)obesity, 
extreme or Class 3 (BMI ≥ 40) among women attending Galway University Hospital between 2001 and 2009.
Among a total considered population for the study of 31,869, there were 306 women with BMI equal to or greater than 35. 
A yearly analysis was obtained; the incidence in the year 2000 was 2.1 per thousand, and increased significantly to 11.8 per thousand by the year 2009.
Among the 306 women, 173 (56.5%) were in the category of Class 2 obesity, and 133 women (43.5%) were in the Class 3 or morbid obesity category.
Contributing author Prof. John J. Morrison said, “For the Irish obstetric population reported here, the fact that the prevalence of obesity is increasing steadily over the last 10 years is a major cause for concern. It is well established that obesity of all classes is associated with an increased risk of caesarean section.” 
For women with a BMI above or equal to 35, it is clear that overall caesarean section rates were in the region of 43%. Within both obese categories there was an increase in emergency caesarean section (EMCS) risk for primigravida (first ongoing pregnancy) versus multigravid women (at least one previous delivery). 
The presence or absence of complications during pregnancy and delivery were also examined and show a 17% rate of pregnancy induced hypertension in these categories (other complications – see article) 
This study, with input over a decade, provides noteworthy findings. 
“The prevalence of moderate and extreme obesity reported in this population is high, and appears to be increasing. The increased rates of abdominal delivery, and the levels of associated morbidity observed, have serious implications for such women embarking on pregnancy,” said Prof. Morrison.
All references and author names are contained in the full article  “Moderate and Extreme Maternal Obesity” in the May IMJ, p.146. See also
For further information contact:
Communications Unit
Irish Medical Organisation
Tel. 01 676 7273

IMO Membership

Start reaping the benefits of membership.

If you were previously a member of the IMO you can rejoin here.

Join nowRejoin here ›


Have a question?
Please get in touch with us and we will be happy to answer.