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Maternal obesity and inpatient medication usage


Dr C Kennedy, UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. E-mail:


What is already known about this subject

  • • Maternal obesity is associated with an increased use of healthcare resources including medication costs in an outpatient setting.

What this study adds

  • • This study shows an increase in inpatient medication usage associated with maternal obesity. This is the case in the antenatal period but not in the peripartum period.


Maternal obesity is associated with increased medical and obstetric complications. We compared the inpatient antenatal and peripartum medication usage in obese women to that in women in the normal body mass index (BMI) category. White European women with a singleton pregnancy were enrolled after a glucose tolerance test excluded diabetes mellitus at 28 weeks gestation. Weight and height were measured in the first trimester and BMI calculated. Records of medications administered were collated from patient drug charts. Of the 284 women studied, there were 97, 85 and 102 women in the normal, overweight and obese categories, respectively. Delivery details across the weight categories did not vary significantly and Caesarean section rates were 22.7, 22.4 and 26.5%, respectively. The length of hospital stay postpartum for each category was similar. The administration of antenatal medication showed a trend towards increasing usage with increasing BMI category with increases in analgesic and antibiotic use. There was no difference in peripartum medication usage. The study showed that maternal obesity was associated with an increased inpatient usage of medication in the antenatal period. This has implications for healthcare costs particularly if the prevalence of maternal obesity continues to increase.