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Epidemiology. 2006 Jul;17(4):428-34.

Adult weight change, weight cycling, and prepregnancy obesity in relation to risk of preeclampsia.

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  • 1Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98122, USA.



Preeclampsia has been shown to be associated with obesity, with other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and with subsequent cardiovascular disease itself. However, the possible association with weight gain and weight cycling has not been evaluated.


In this prospective study of a cohort of 1644 pregnant women, we assessed adult weight change, intentional weight cycling, and prepregnancy obesity in relation to preeclampsia risk. Net weight change from age 18 years to the period 3 months before conception was determined for each participant. Weight cycling was defined as intentional weight loss and unintentional regain of at least 15 pounds during periods not related to pregnancy or lactation. We used multivariate regression procedures to calculate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


Relative to women with stable weight (gained or lost < 2.5 kg) women who gained 5.0-9.9 kg experienced a 2.6-fold increased risk of preeclampsia (95% CI = 1.0-6.7). The corresponding risk ratio (RR) for women who gained > or = 10 kg was 5.1 (2.2-12.2). Intentional weight cycling, after controlling for weight at age 18 years, adult weight change, and other risk factors, was not associated with increased risk of preeclampsia (RR = 1.1; CI = 0.6-1.8). RRs increased monotonically with increasing prepregnancy body mass index greater than 19.8 kg/m. After adjusting for confounders, the RR for prepregnancy overweight women and obese women were 1.7 (0.6-4.9) and 3.4 (1.5-7.6) respectively.


These results suggest that adult weight gain and prepregnancy overweight and obesity status are associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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