Weight change across the start of three consecutive pregnancies and the risk of maternal morbidity and SGA birth at the second and third pregnancy

Jacqueline M. Wallace, Sohinee Bhattacharya, Graham W. Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Weight-change across parities and/or current BMI may influence maternal and fetal morbidity and requires to be differentiated to better inform weight-management guidance.
Methods: Direction, pattern and magnitude of weight-change across three consecutive parities and thereby two inter-pregnancy periods was described in 5079 women. The association between inter-pregnancy weight-change versus current BMI and adverse maternal events, SGA-birth and preterm delivery at second and third pregnancy were investigated by logistic regression.
Results: More women gained weight across the defined childbearing period than lost it, with ~35% of normal and overweight women gaining sufficient weight to move up a BMI-category. Nine patterns of weight-change were defined across two inter-pregnancy periods and 50% of women remained weight-stable throughout (within 2BMI units/period). Women who were overweight/obese at first pregnancy had higher risk of substantial weight-gain and loss (>10kg) during each of two inter-pregnancy periods. Inter-pregnancy weight-gain (> 2BMI units) between first and second pregnancy increased the risk of maternal morbidity (1or more event of hypertensive disease, caesarean-section, thromboembolism) at second pregnancy, while weight-loss (>2BMI units) increased the risk of SGA-birth. Similarly, increased risk of maternal morbidity at the third pregnancy was influenced by weight-gain during both inter-pregnancy periods but not by current BMI-category. Both weight-gain between first and second pregnancy, and being overweight/obese by third pregnancy protected the fetus against SGA-birth whereas weight-loss between second and third pregnancy doubled the SGA risk.
Conclusion: Half the women studied exhibited significant weight-fluctuations. This influenced their risk of maternal morbidity and SGA-birth at second and third pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0179589
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPloS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was funded by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS, Theme 7: Diet and Health). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.


Dive into the research topics of 'Weight change across the start of three consecutive pregnancies and the risk of maternal morbidity and SGA birth at the second and third pregnancy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this