Subcutaneous fat a predictor of poor pregnancy outcomes

A retrospective cohort study of 1200 pregnant Sydney women also suggested central obesity was a stronger risk factor than general adiposity.

SFT was measured using routine ultrasound images taken at 18 to 22 weeks gestation. Taking into account maternal age, it outperformed BMI for all outcomes except preterm birth. Other outcomes were gestational diabetes, caesarean section and infants large for their gestational age.

Not all obese women were equally likely to develop complications. Lead author Professor Ralph Nanan from Sydney Medical School Nepean said they found that the way fat was distributed was a significant factor with visceral fat more dangerous than peripheral fat.

“We need the most accurate diagnostic tool possible to decide if the fat on your belly is a sign of visceral fat around your organs,” he said.

The study found the risk for a caesarean increased by 28% for every 5mm increase in SFT but only 14% for every