Paper Sample: Maternal Obesity Prevalence and Its Impact on Gestation Weeks in Ireland: A Comprehensive Analysis

Published: 2023-10-09
Paper Sample: Maternal Obesity Prevalence and Its Impact on Gestation Weeks in Ireland: A Comprehensive Analysis
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Health and Social Care Maternity Diabetes
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1322 words
12 min read



Overweight and obesity continue to be threatening public concerns, especially in the contemporary age. World Health Organization (2020) defines overweight and obesity as nonconventional or excess accumulation of fat in the body, which may lead to health impairment. According to the same source, an adult is considered overweight when the body mass index (BMI) equals or exceeds 25kg/m2 and obese when the BMI is greater than 29.9kg/m2 (World Health Organization, 2020). Sufficient scientific sources have identified obesity as a serious health factor that increases the risk of developing devastating diseases such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, abnormal levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and osteoarthritis, among others (Reynolds et al., 2019).

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Type 2 diabetes is a causative factor for various severe health conditions, including amputation, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and impotence (Korkmaz et al., 2016). It reduces health outcomes and quality of life by excessively increasing the ratio of body fat to lean mass, causing major constrictions in the respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems. Although the causes of overweight and obesity are still under investigation, available resources prove that the conditions are linkable to a sedentary lifestyle and the increasing consumption of energy-dense foods, which are rich in fats and sugars. Environmental and societal changes, catalysed by technological advancements, have indeed instigated changes in dietary and physical activity patterns.

Despite the potential effects, the prevalence of obesity has increased exponentially within the last few decades. Obesity has nearly tripled on a global scale since 1975 to over 650 million adults by 2016 (World Health Organization, 2020). The statistics further indicate that 39% of people aged 18 and above, equivalent to approximately 1.9 billion people, are either overweight or obese (World Health Organization, 2020). The statistic is worse in Ireland, where 61.9% of the adult population is either overweight or obese (World Health Organization, 2013). 56% of women in the country are either overweight or obese, while 24.2% of them are specifically obese (World Health Organization, 2013). The rate is expected to grow to 40% by the end of 2020 (World Health Organization, 2013). The high overweight and obesity rates among women spell greater threats, especially on maternal health. Research done at University College Dublin found that pregnant Irish women who are obese are three times more likely to have preterm deliveries, especially if the pregnancy is for the first time (Vinturache et al., 2017). The research further shows that 19 to 25% of mothers are obese during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy (Korkmaz et al., 2016). Such trends generate much pressure on the country’s maternal healthcare demands change in fostering neonatal health.

There are numerous models that attempt to explain the impacts of maternal obesity. Korkmaz et al. developed a long list of impacts of maternal obesity, which they categorised into maternal, neonatal, and postnatal (Korkmaz et al., 2016). Maternal impacts include miscarriages, preterm birth, postpartum bleeding, and gestational non-proteinuric among others. Some of the associated neonatal complications are congenital anomalies, macrosomic (>4000g), shoulder dystocia, and jaundice (Korkmaz et al., 2016). Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are examples of the outlined postnatal impacts. In essence, the model confirms that maternal obesity presents a wide array of impacts that increase perinatal risks and mortality across age and ethnicity. Studies indicate that 25% of maternal mortalities are directly related to obesity (Korkmaz et al., 2016).

A cohort study on maternal and child obesity found that childhood adiposity is likely to be higher in a scenario where the maternal MBI was considerably high (Josey et al., 2019). In this case, it can be postulated that gestational weight gain is a significant mediating factor in how maternal BMI impacts child weight. Similar to this study is another research which established that mothers with higher BMIs during pregnancy are more likely to have longer gestation periods (Denison et al., 2009). This study affirms such findings and establishes disparities across age and ethnicities.

Statement of the Problem

From the statistics, it is evident that overweight and obesity will continue to be serious health threats unless stun measures are taken into consideration. The prevalence of obesity in women, especially for those who are gestating or lactating, presents unique impacts specific to obstetrics (Denison et al., 2009). A study on maternal obesity in an Irish Hospital found that the escalating maternal obesity is a potential reason for obstetric complications and that more innovative interventions will be necessary to address the new developments in antenatal care (Reynolds et al., 2019). Another study on the impacts of maternal obesity on caesarean section rates in Irish hospitals established that obesity and overweight increase the odds of C.S. delivery, especially for multiparous births (Brick et al., 2019). There are other resources that have connected obesity with preeclampsia, congenital anomalies, gestational diabetes mellitus, stillbirth, and poor child and mother health later in life (Leddy et al., 2008). This study does not address a specific gap but examines the prevalence of maternal obesity and how it impacts the gestation period.

Research Questions

  1. To what extent is maternal obesity prevalent in Ireland by age and ethnicity?
  2. To what extent does maternal obesity impact gestation weeks?

The Rationale of the Study

Implementing effective maternal care by reducing obstetric and neonatal risks demands a proper understanding of exposure to such risks with respect to demographic characteristics. Such knowledge necessitates appropriate and focused intervention approaches to dealing with maternal health. Thus, studying the prevalence of maternal obesity in Ireland is a necessary foundation for preventing adverse health conditions for both the mother and the child during gestation and neonatal periods. Establishing the impact of maternal obesity on gestation weeks is also imperative is fostering mechanisms for fostering healthy pregnancies.


The aim of the research was twofold. First, it aims at determining the prevalence of maternal obesity in Ireland by age and ethnicity. Second, it focuses on establishing how significant maternal obesity impacts gestation weeks. A retrospective study design was selected in an effort to establish responses to the outlined research objectives. The goal of the design is to perform a posteriori analysis on an existing dataset. For this analysis, a secondary dataset on the prevalence of obesity was retrieved from a survey that had been done prior.

The data was collected from various Irish prenatal care units and consisted of 328 women in their antepartum periods. The participants were aged between 20 and 46 and were from different nationalities despite the majority being Irish. Demographic data collected from the participants include their ages and ethnicity. Physiological data collected were the participants’ heights, weights, and weeks of gestation. The lowest weight was 40.7kg while the highest had 114.95 kg. Heights were between 1m and 1.8m while gestation weeks were between 4 weeks and 18 weeks.

From the data on gestation weeks, it is evident that all the participants were either in their first or second trimester. Usually, the first trimester ranges between the first to the twelfth week while the second trimester starts in the 13th week and ends in the 26th week. 55% of the participants were in their first trimester while the remaining 45% were in their second trimester. The period between 27th week to delivery is the third trimester. Using the columns of data on weight and height, body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Using the guidelines provided by the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the BMIs were further categorised into underweight, normal weight, overweight, obesity level-1, obesity level-2, and obesity level-3 where BMI is <18.5, >=18.5, >=25, >=30, >=25, and >40 respectively. This was done by finding the quotient of weight and the square of height. The dataset was further analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to generate descriptive and regression outputs at 95% significance.


Two types of analysis were done to complete the analysis. The first was descriptive analysis which concentrated on the demographic characteristics of the respondents with an aim to establish the prevalence of maternal obesity across age and ethnicity. The second analysis was linear regression where data on respondents' body mass index was regressed against their gestation weeks to determine whether maternal obesity would statistically significantly impact the gestation period.

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Paper Sample: Maternal Obesity Prevalence and Its Impact on Gestation Weeks in Ireland: A Comprehensive Analysis. (2023, Oct 09). Retrieved from

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