Background: Obesity in pregnancy has continued to attract global attention due to its contribution to maternal morbidity and mortality. However, this attention appears to be concentrated on developed countries with little or no attention to developing countries, resulting in very little statistics from developing countries on the subject matter.
Objectives: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of obesity during pregnancy, in South-e east Nigeria.
Method: Women who registered for antenatal care in their first trimester of pregnancy were interviewed and requisite data collected. Fischer exact test, t-test and bivariate correlation analysis were carried out as appropriate at the 95% confidence level. P-values less than 0.05 were considered significant.
Results: A total of 3,167 pregnant women were recruited. The prevalence of obesity in pregnancy was 10.7%. Obesity was significantly more prevalent amongst women residing in urban areas. Only 15.1% of participants knew their pre-pregnancy weight. Education, employment, parity and age did not have significant relations with obesity in pregnancy.
Conclusion: Obesity in pregnancy exists in appreciable proportion in south-eastern Nigeria and majority of women in this setting do not know their pre-pregnancy weights. There is need to begin to consider obesity in pregnancy as a problem that does exist in resource-poor settings and specific guidelines on the management of obese pregnant women in resource-poor settings would be needed. Nigerian women need to be encouraged to check their weights periodically especially before planning pregnancy.
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