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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Maternal body mass index increasing above 20 is associated with increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death and postneonatal death
  1. Ruth Bell
  1. Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Ruth Bell, Institute of Health & Society, Baddiley Clark Building, Newcastle University, Richardson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AX, UK; ruth.bell{at}

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Forty-two per cent of deliveries in England in 2007 involved obese or overweight women.1 Raised body mass index (BMI) has been associated with various adverse pregnancy outcomes, most notably stillbirth.2 ,3 Relatively few studies have reported on associations with infant death, particularly beyond the neonatal period, or with sufficient power to consider the full range of BMI categories. This study examines the association between maternal BMI and the full range of fetal and infant mortality outcomes.


This was a review of cohort studies reporting adjusted relative risk estimates of fetal and infant death for at least three categories of maternal BMI reported before or during early pregnancy. Outcome measures …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.