The Association of Maternal Adult Weight Trajectory with Preeclampsia and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus




Preeclampsia (PE) and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) adversely affect pregnancy outcomes and the subsequent health of both mother and infant. It is known that elevated pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is associated with increased risk of these obstetrical complications. However, little is known about the role of adult weight patterns prior to pregnancy.


Self-reported weight at ages prior to the current pregnancy was recorded in a prospective cohort study of 3567 pregnant women, allowing assessment of longitudinal pre-pregnancy weight trajectories and their association with subsequent PE and GDM in the study pregnancy.


Women who would subsequently experience PE or GDM in the study pregnancy experienced on average almost double the rate of adult weight gain than other women [PE: additional 0.30 kg/year, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09, 0.51 and GDM: additional 0.34 kg/year, 95% CI 0.21, 0.48]. Women with mean adult annual weight gain above the 90th percentile (1.4 kg/year) had elevated risk of subsequent PE and GDM independent of their BMI at age 18 and of their obesity status at the time of the study pregnancy. Finite mixture trajectory modelling identified four monotonely ordered, increasing mean weight trajectories. Relative to the second lowest (most common) weight trajectory, women in the highest trajectory were at greater risk of PE [odds ratio (OR) 5.0, 95% CI 2.9, 8.8] and GDM (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.7, 4.5).


These results indicate that higher adult weight gain trajectories prior to pregnancy may play a role in predisposing women to PE or GDM.