The Impact of Maternal Obesity on Pregnancy: A systematic review

E. Charatsi, G. Chrelias



The increase in average body mass index (BMI) is a worldwide growing epidemic. Excessive weight in pregnancy has multiple adverse effects on pregnant women, pregnancy outcome, the fetus and infant’s health. Complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections and venous thromboembolic events are more frequent. In addition, miscarriage, stillbirth and macrosomia risk is increased. Obese women often require a labor induction or cesarean section. They also have a higher incidence of complications peri- or postoperatively or during the post-partum period. Children born to obese mothers have a higher incidence of congenital defects. In the long term, when reaching adolescence and adulthood, they have a higher prevalence of obesity, atherosclerosis, insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus. The best way of prevention is encouraging women to lose weight prior to conceiving and enter pregnancy with a BMI lower than 30 kg/m2 and ideally 25 kg/m2. During pregnancy, women and the fetus should be closely monitored for possible complications and a combination of careful diet and regular exercise is highly recommended.

Keywords: obesity, gestational diabetes, metabolic syndrome