Prediction of uncomplicated pregnancies in obese women: a prospective multicentre study

Matias C Vieira, Sara L White, Nashita Patel, Paul T Seed, Annette L Briley, Jane Sandall, Paul Welsh, Naveed Sattar, Scott M Nelson, Debbie A Lawlor, Lucilla Poston, Dharmintra Pasupathy, UPBEAT Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: All obese pregnant women are considered at equal high risk with respect to complications in pregnancy and birth, and are commonly managed through resource-intensive care pathways. However, the identification of maternal characteristics associated with normal pregnancy outcomes could assist in the management of these pregnancies. The present study aims to identify the factors associated with uncomplicated pregnancy and birth in obese women, and to assess their predictive performance.

METHODS: Data form obese women (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) with singleton pregnancies included in the UPBEAT trial were used in this analysis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic, clinical and biochemical factors at 15+0 to 18+6 weeks' gestation associated with uncomplicated pregnancy and birth, defined as delivery of a term live-born infant without antenatal or labour complications. Predictive performance was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC). Internal validation and calibration were also performed. Women were divided into fifths of risk and pregnancy outcomes were compared between groups. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were calculated using the upper fifth as the positive screening group.

RESULTS: Amongst 1409 participants (BMI 36.4, SD 4.8 kg/m2), the prevalence of uncomplicated pregnancy and birth was 36% (505/1409). Multiparity and increased plasma adiponectin, maternal age, systolic blood pressure and HbA1c were independently associated with uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. These factors achieved an AUROC of 0.72 (0.68-0.76) and the model was well calibrated. Prevalence of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders, preterm birth, and postpartum haemorrhage decreased whereas spontaneous vaginal delivery increased across the fifths of increasing predicted risk of uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 38%, 89%, 63% and 74%, respectively. A simpler model including clinical factors only (no biomarkers) achieved an AUROC of 0.68 (0.65-0.71), with sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of 31%, 86%, 56% and 69%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Clinical factors and biomarkers can be used to help stratify pregnancy and delivery risk amongst obese pregnant women. Further studies are needed to explore alternative pathways of care for obese women demonstrating different risk profiles for uncomplicated pregnancy and birth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2017


  • Adiponectin
  • Adult
  • Diabetes, Gestational/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Obesity/epidemiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia/epidemiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve


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