Effect of interpregnancy weight change on perinatal outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis
Abstract: Background: Although obesity is a well-known risk factor for adverse pregnancy outcomes, evidence is sparse about the effects of interpregnancy weight change on the risk of adverse perinatal complications in a subsequent pregnancy. The current study aims to assess the effect of interpregnancy weight change on the risk of developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension, preterm birth, or delivering a large- or small-for-gestational age neonate. Methods: Pubmed, Ovid Embase, ClinicalTrial.gov and the Cochrane library were systematically searched up until July 24th, 2019. Interpregnancy weight change was defined as the difference between pre-pregnancy weight of an index pregnancy and a consecutive pregnancy. Inclusion criteria included full text original articles reporting quantitative data about interpregnancy weight change in multiparous women with any time interval between consecutive births and the risk of any perinatal complication of interest. Studies reporting adjusted odds ratios and a reference group of − 1 to + 1 BMI unit change between pregnancies were harmonised by meta-analysis. Results: Twenty-three cohort studies identified a total of 671,906 women with two or more consecutive pregnancies. Seven of these studies were included in the meta-analysis (280,672 women). Interpregnancy weight gain was consistently associated with a higher risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and large-for-gestational age births. In contrast, interpregnancy weight loss was associated with a lower risk of delivering a large-for-gestational age neonate. The effect magnitude (relative risk) of interpregnancy weight gain on pregnancy induced hypertension or delivering a large-for-gestational age neonate was greater among women with a normal BMI in the index pregnancy compared to women with a starting BMI ≥25 kg/m2. Conclusion: These findings confirm that interpregnancy weight change impacts the risk of developing perinatal complications in a subsequent pregnancy. This provides evidence in support of guidelines encouraging women to achieve post-partum weight loss, as their risk of perinatal complications might be minimised if they return to their pre-pregnancy weight before conceiving again. Prospectively registered with PROSPERO (CRD42017067326).