Background Women who have higher systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in early pregnancy are more prone to develop pregnancy complications such as hypertension, preeclampsia and eclampsia. These complications contribute significantly to morbidity, stillbirth and neonatal mortality.
Objective To evaluate the effect of pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) on first trimester SBP, DBP and mean arterial pressure (MAP).
Methods 118 pregnant women between 20 and 40 years of age, up to 13 weeks and free from chronic or infectious diseases were investigated. SBP and DBP were obtained with automatic arm sphygmomanometer (Omron) and MAP was calculated as (SBP+DBP×2)/3. Statistical analysis was performed using ANOVA, correlation and multivariate linear regression. Adjustments were made for age, skin colour, parity and smoking.
Results Women were 26.3±4.9 years of age, had 8.7±2.7 years of schooling, per-capita income (US$) of 291.2±166.4 and pre-pregnancy BMI of 25.6±5.1 kg/m2. There was a moderate positive correlation between pre-pregnancy BMI and SBP (r=0.52; p<0.001), DBP (r=0.33; p<0.001) and MAP (r=0.44; p<0.001). Mean MAP (mm Hg) increased with BMI categories (underweight=76.5; normal weight=77.4; overweight=82.9 and obesity=88.7, p<0.001) as did SBP (underweight=100.3; normal weight=105.8; overweight=112.4 and obesity=121.2, p<0.001) and DBP (underweight=64.8; normal weight=63.5; overweight=68.3 and obesity=72.6, p<0.001). Multivariate linear regression showed that an increase of 1.0 kg/m2 in pre-pregnancy BMI raised SBP in 1.24 mm Hg (p<0.001) and 0.53 mm Hg in DBP (p=0.002).
Conclusion Women who begin pregnancy overweight or obese tend to have higher values of SBP and DBP, which may indicate a higher risk of developing hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.
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