The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of maternal BMI at start of pregnancy and maternal weight gain during pregnancy on the risk of various diseases later in life.
In a population-based cohort from southern Sweden, women with at least one delivery registered in the Swedish Medical Birth Register ten or more years before answering a health questionnaire were identified (n = 13,608). Complete data were found in 3,539 women.
Women with BMI >25 at start of pregnancy had increased risk of developing obesity (OR 21.9), diabetes (OR 6.4), cardiac disease (OR 2.7), endocrine diseases (OR 2.3), and other morbidity (OR 1.4), compared with women of normal weight. A high weight gain (>15 kg) during pregnancy was associated to later risk of overweight (OR 2.0) and obesity (OR 2.2), but not diabetes, cardiac disease, or endocrine diseases. A positive association was found between low weight gain and the risk of developing psychiatric disorders (OR 1.6).
A high BMI at start of pregnancy significantly increased the risk of several diseases later in life. However, a high weight gain during pregnancy was only significant for future overweight and obesity. These findings have implications for both pregestational intervention and post gestational follow up of obese and overweight women.