Obesity in pregnancy: What's next? Long-term cardiovascular morbidity in a follow-up period of more than a decade Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: To investigate whether obesity during pregnancy poses a risk for subsequent maternal long-term cardiovascular morbidity, after controlling for diabetes and hypertensive disorders. Study design: Data were analyzed from consecutive pregnant women who delivered between 1988 and 1999, and were followed-up until 2010. Long-term cardiovascular morbidity was compared among women with and without obesity in pregnancy (maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or more). Kaplan–Meier survival curves were used to compare cumulative incidence of cardiovascular hospitalizations. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for long-term cardiovascular hospitalizations. Results: During the study period 46 688 women met the inclusion criteria, 1221 (2.6%) had a BMI ≥30 kg/m². During a follow-up period of more than 10 years, patients with obesity had higher rates of simple cardiovascular events and total number of cardiovascular hospitalizations. These complications tended to occur at a shorter interval (mean 4871 days ± 950 versus 5060 days ± 1140; p = 0.001). In a Cox proportional hazards model that adjusted for diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia and maternal age, obesity was independently associated with cardiovascular hospitalizations (adjusted HR 2.6, 95% CI 2.0–3.4). Conclusion: Obesity during pregnancy is an independent risk factor for long-term cardiovascular morbidity, and these complications tend to occur earlier. Pregnancy should be considered as a window of opportunity to predict future health problems and as an opportunity to promote women's health. Obese parturients might benefit from cardiovascular risk screening that could lead to early detection and secondary prevention of cardiovascular morbidity.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016