Gestational weight gain and preterm birth in obese women: A systematic review and meta-analysis

M. A. Faucher, M. Hastings-Tolsma, J. J. Song, D. S. Willoughby, S. Gerding Bader

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background Prepregnant obesity is a global concern and gestational weight gain has been found to influence the risks of preterm birth. Objective To assess the relationship between gestational weight gain and risk for preterm birth in obese women. Search strategy Four electronic databases were searched from 18 February through to 28 April 2015. Selection criteria Primary research reporting preterm birth as an outcome in obese women and gestational weight gain as a variable that could be compared to the 2009 Institute of Medicine's recommendations. Data collection and analysis Two reviewers independently assessed trials for inclusion. The Newcastle Ottawa Scale was used to assess study bias. Main results Our search identified six studies meeting the inclusion criteria; five were conducted in the USA and one in Peru. Four studies with a total of 10 171 obese women were meta-analysed. Significant heterogeneity was found between studies in the pooled analysis. Results for indicated preterm birth in obese women with gestational weight gain above the Institute of Medicine's recommendations showed increased risk (adjusted odds ratio 1.54; 95% CI 1.09-2.16). Conclusions Available science on this topic is limited to special populations of obese pregnant women. Generalisable research is needed to assess the variation in risk for preterm birth in obese women by differences in gestational weight gain and class of obesity controlling for significant variables in the pathway to preterm birth. This research has the potential to illuminate new science impacting preterm birth and interventions for prevention. Tweetable abstract A meta-analysis of gestational weight gain in obese women and preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Gestational weight gain
  • meta-analysis
  • obese
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • preterm birth
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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