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April 10, 1996

Prepregnancy Weight and Pregnancy Outcome

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Dr Goldenberg) and Nutrition Sciences (Dr Tamura), School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

JAMA. 1996;275(14):1127-1128. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530380069034

In this issue of THE JOURNAL, there are two articles that describe the relationship between maternal size and a pregnancy with a neural tube defect (NTD).1,2 Both investigations are population-based, case-controlled studies involving more than 500 NTD cases and controls. Information on maternal characteristics, including pregnancy events, prepregnancy weight, and dietary intake, was obtained by in-person interviews with each mother within 5 to 6 months of delivery. The risk of NTD-affected pregnancy was estimated after adjusting for multiple confounders. These two groups of investigators independently reached a similar conclusion: women who are obese (ie, women who have a body mass index [BMI] of >29 kg/m2 or body weight of more than 80 kg) at the beginning of pregnancy are more likely to have infants with NTDs and this association is independent of folate intake. Since previous studies have indicated similar relationships,3,4 it is likely that this association