Sunayna Bahadoer , MSc 1 , 2 , Romy Gaillard , MD PhD 1 , 2 , 3 , Janine F. Felix , MD PhD 1 , 2 , 3 , Hein Raat , MD PhD 1 , 4 , Carry M. Renders , PhD 5 , Albert Hofman , MD PhD 2 , Eric A.P. Steegers , MD PhD 6 , Vincent W.V. Jaddoe , MD PhD 1 , 2 , 3
08 July 2015
To examine ethnic disparities in maternal prepregnancy obesity and gestational weight gain, and to examine to which extent these differences can be explained by socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics.
In a multi-ethnic population-based prospective cohort study among 6,444 pregnant women in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, maternal anthropometrics were repeatedly measured throughout pregnancy. Ethnicity, socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics were assessed by physical examinations and questionnaires.
The prevalence of prepregnancy overweight and obesity was 23.1% among Dutch-origin women. Statistically higher prevalences were observed among Dutch Antillean-origin (40.8%), Moroccan-origin (49.9%), Surinamese-Creole-origin (38.6%) and Turkish-origin (41.1%) women (all p-values <0.05). Only Dutch Antillean-origin, Moroccan-origin, Surinamese-Creole-origin and Turkish-origin women had higher risks of maternal prepregnancy overweight and obesity as compared to Dutch-origin women (p-values <0.05). Socio-demographic and lifestyle related characteristics explained up to 45% of the ethnic differences in body mass index. Compared to Dutch-origin women, total gestational weight gain was lower in all ethnic minority groups, except for Cape Verdean-origin and Surinamese-Creole-origin women (p-values <0.05). Lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics explained up to 33% and 40% of these associations, respectively. The largest ethnic differences in gestational weight gain were observed in late pregnancy.
We observed moderate ethnic differences in maternal prepregnancy overweight, obesity and gestational weight gain. Socio-demographic, lifestyle and pregnancy related characteristics partly explained these differences. Whether these differences also lead to ethnic differences in maternal and childhood outcomes should be further studied.