Racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes in obese women

Nicole E. Marshall, Camelia Guild, Yvonne W. Cheng, Aaron B. Caughey, Donna R. Halloran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: To estimate the effect of race on perinatal outcomes in obese women. Methods: Retrospective cohort study of birth records linked to hospital discharge data for all live born singleton infants ≥37 weeks gestation born to African-American or Caucasian Missouri residents from 2000 to 2006. We excluded major congenital anomalies and women with diabetes or chronic hypertension. Obesity was defined as pre-pregnancy body mass index ≥30 kg/m2. Results: There were 312 412 births meeting study criteria. 27.1% (11 776) of African-American mothers and 19.1% (49 415) of Caucasian mothers were obese. There were no differences in cesarean delivery or preeclampsia between obese African-American and obese Caucasian women. Infants of obese African-American women were significantly less likely to be macrosomic (0.9% vs. 2.2%, adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.4 0.6) and more likely to be low birth weight (3.4% vs. 1.8%, aOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.7, 2.2) compared to infants of obese Caucasian women. Compared to their normal weight peers, obese Caucasian women had a greater relative risk of developing preeclampsia (aOR 3.1, 95% CI 2.9, 3.2) than obese African-American women (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.9, 2.4). Conclusion: Racial disparities impact obesity-related maternal and neonatal complications of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Obesity
  • Perinatal outcomes
  • Race
  • Racial disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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