Article Text


2.6 Maternal and child health risk factors for pregnancy outcome
O2-6.4 Impact of maternal obesity on stillbirth and infant death: absolute risk and temporal trends
  1. P W G Tennant1,
  2. J Rankin1,2,
  3. R Bell1,2
  1. 1Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Regional Maternity Survey Office, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


Introduction UK guidelines advocate that obese pregnant women (body mass index, BMI ≥30 kg/m2) be made aware of the increased risks to them and their offspring. This study hence pooled data from several sources to derive estimates of the absolute and attributable risks of stillbirth and infant death for obese women in England, and predict changes in prevalence resulting from trends in BMI.

Methods The BMI profile of the maternal population of England and of the prevalence of each outcome were obtained from nationally representative sources. Trends in BMI were modelled by logistic regression. RRs for stillbirth and infant death were derived from published literature. These were equated to estimate absolute risks, attributable risks, and future prevalence rates.

Results The estimated absolute risk of a stillbirth or infant death for an obese pregnant woman in England is 1.5% (95% CI 1.3 to 1.8), compared to 0.9% (0.8 to 0.9) for women of recommended BMI (25–29 kg/m2). An estimated 8.1% of stillbirths and infant deaths in England are attributable to maternal obesity.

If trends in maternal BMI continue, 24.0% (22.1 to 25.9) of the maternal population of England will be obese by 2020. This is predicted to result in a 4.4% increase in the prevalence of stillbirth and infant death compared to 2010.

Conclusion This study provides estimates of the individual risk and population burden of stillbirth and infant death in England resulting from maternal obesity. These results have implications for public health planning and for providing clear information to obese women about their pregnancy-related risks.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.