Heavy first time mums more likely to have induced labour

National 1 minute, 38 seconds


OVERWEIGHT first time mothers in Brunei are more likely to have induced labour and emergency caesarean sections, according a recent review of pregnancies statistics from 2009 to 2010.

The review, published in the Brunei International Medical Journal last year, surveyed 1290 pregnant women delivering their first child – reporting that underweight mothers had the highest rate of normal vaginal delivery at 80 per cent compared to 69 per cent of high Body Mass Index (BMI) and 63 per cent with normal BMI.

Pregnant women with a BMI exceeding 25 - comprising 39.8 per cent of those recorded - were also at a higher risk for gestational hypertension and diabetes, calculated at 5.8 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

Underweight women were more likely to have a lower red blood cell count however, with 34 per cent having anaemia compared to 10 to 14 per cent of those who are overweight to morbidly obese.

“These (statistics) are not unexpected, considering being overweight and having hypertension and diabetes are part of the metabolic syndrome,” the researchers of the study said.

“Increased metabolic demands during pregnancy and further weight gain are important factors, and this will push patients who are pre-Diabetes Mellitus (DM) into overt DM,” they added.

The researchers stipulate that there is a linear correlation in development of pregnancy risks with weight gain – the higher the BMI, the higher the risk.

Contrary to well-established studies abroad associating high BMI and newborn deaths, there was no such link found amongst the 1,290 women.

“We found no significant difference in perinatal (weeks before and after birth) outcome between normal and high BMI groups; there were no significant differences in stillbirth and newborn deaths.”

The World Health Organisation classifies those underweight as having a BMI below 20 and normal as 20 to 24.9.

40.4 and 19.8 per cent of the group being reviewed were normal and low BMI respectively.

The researchers of the study included health professionals from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital and academics from Universiti Brunei Darussalam and University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

The Brunei Times