Pre-pregnancy obesity on the border and pregnancy complications: A secondary analysis comparing post-natal adult women in Matamoros, Mexico and Cameron County, Texas
Obesity during pregnancy is a serious health concern which has been associated with many adverse health outcomes for both the mother and the infant. In addition, data on the prevalence of obesity and its effects on pregnant women living in the border region are limited. This goal of this study was to examine the prevalence of preconception obesity among women living on each side of the Brownsville-Matamoros border who have just given birth, the relationship between obesity and pregnancy complications for the total population, and these associations by location. Study participants were drawn from a sample (n=947) from the Brownsville-Matamoros Sister City Project which included women from 10 border region hospitals (6 in Matamoros, 4 in Cameron County) who were recruited based on hospital log records indicating they had given birth to a live infant. De-identified data from verbal questionnaires administered within twenty-four hours after birth were analyzed to determine prevalence of preconception obesity on both sides of the border, and associated pregnancy outcomes for women residing in the United States and those in Mexico. Participants with missing height or weight data were excluded from analyses in this study, resulting in a final sample of 727 women. Significant associations were found between pre-pregnancy obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes (OR=1.85, CI=1.30–2.64), hypertensive conditions (OR=2.76, CI=1.72–4.43), and macrosomia (OR=6.77, CI=1.13–40.57) using the total sample. Comparisons between the United States and Mexico sides of the border showed differences; associations between preconception obesity and adverse pregnancy outcomes were marginally significant among women in the United States (p=0.05), but failed to reach significance within this group for each individual complication. However, significant associations were found between obesity and preeclampsia (OR=3.61, CI=2.14–6.10), as well as obesity and the presence of one or more adverse pregnancy outcome (OR=2.29, CI=1.30–4.02), among women in Mexico. The results from this analysis provide new information specific to women on the Texas and Mexico border, a region that had not previously been studied. These significant associations between preconception obesity and adverse birth outcomes indicate that efforts to prevent obesity should focus on women of childbearing age, especially in Mexico.