Can we predict which obese pregnant women will have uncomplicated pregnancies and births?

Our researchers are developing a tool to predict which obese pregnant women are likely to have uncomplicated pregnancies and births. This will give women peace of mind and the information they need to decide where they give birth.
  • Author's list

    Dr Dharmintra Pasupathy, Dr Sophie Relph, Dr Matias Vieira

Why do we need this research?

In the UK, one in five pregnant women are obese. Although obesity is linked to complications during pregnancy and birth, many obese pregnant women have straightforward, uncomplicated births.

In a recent study in the UK, six out of ten obese pregnant women with no medical or pregnancy problems gave birth vaginally without complication or intervention. Despite this, many obese women are asked to give birth in hospital, where they can be cared for by doctors and midwives, just in case something goes wrong.

We think it should be possible to work out which obese but otherwise healthy pregnant women are likely to have uncomplicated pregnancies and vaginal births, so that these women can be given the opportunity to give birth in a midwife-led birth centre.

What’s happening in this project?

To help do this, our researchers are looking at a large nationwide database to see if there are particular characteristics that seem to be linked to uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. The team will then develop a computerised tool that can help health professionals offer personalised choices to the obese pregnant women in their care.

What difference will this project make?

This project could help give obese women peace of mind that they are not likely to have any problems during their pregnancy. It will also help doctors focus specialist care to the women who really need it.

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