It had been known that women with obesity are at increased risk of some serious complications of pregnancy, including severe maternal morbidity and mortality, and that those considered morbidly obese – with BMIs of 40 and above – are most likely to experience these complications, Dr. Platner said. However, she added, there’s a paucity of data to inform maternal risk stratification by level of obesity.
“We included the group of superobese women, which is significant in the surgical literature, and that’s a BMI of 50 and above ... we thought that would be an important subgroup to analyze in this population,” she said.
Dr. Platner said that she and her colleagues already had the clinical impressions that women with the highest BMIs were most likely to have serious complications. “I don’t think that these findings are particularly surprising,” she said. “This is what our hypothesis was in terms of why we did this study.”
The greater surprise, she said, was the magnitude of increased risk seen for serious morbidity with higher levels of obesity.