Maternal Obesity Affects Newborn Somatometrics and Vital Parameters in a Gender Typical Manner – Evidence for the Male Disadvantage Hypothesis?

Sylvia Kirchengast, Beda Hartmann


According to the male disadvantage hypothesis male foetuses react more sensitive to maternal stress factors during gestation. In the present study the gender typical impact of maternal prepregnancy overweight and obesity as well as gestational weight gain on newborn somatometrics was tested on basis of births records of 7565 births, which took place in Vienna Austria.Maternal weight status was determined at the beginning of pregnancy according to the WHO recommendations. Newborns were measured immediately after birth. With increasing maternal prepregnancy weight status and increasing gestational weight gain birth weight, birth length and head circumference increased too. Among male newborns however the increase was lower than among female ones. With increasing maternal weight status the prevalence of macrosome newborns increased significantly. Among girls however this increase was significantly higher. Male foetuses seem to react more sensitive to a higher maternal weight status in comparison to girls. These results can be interpreted in
sense of the so called male disadvantage hypothesis.


Maternal obesity, pregnancy outcome, birth weight, male disadvantage hypothesis

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