Background: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) are major causes of maternal death worldwide and the risk factors are not fully understood. Few studies have investigated the risk factors for HDP among Chinese women. A cohort study involving 84,656 women was conducted to investigate pre-pregnancy BMI, total gestational weight gain (GWG), and GWG during early pregnancy as risk factors for HDP among Chinese women. Methods: The study was conducted between 2011-2013 in Wuhan, China, utilizing data from the Maternal and Children Healthcare Information Tracking System of Wuhan. A total of 84,656 women with a live singleton pregnancy were included. Multiple unconditional logistic regression was conducted to evaluate associations between putative risk factors and HDP. Results: Women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy had an elevated risk of developing HDP (overweight: OR = 2.66, 95% CI = 2.32-3.05; obese: OR = 5.53, 95% CI = 4.28- 7.13) compared to their normal weight counterparts. Women with total GWG above the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendation had an adjusted OR of 1.72 (95% CI = 1.54-1.93) for HDP compared to women who had GWG within the IOM recommendation. Women with gestational BMI gain >10 kg/m2 during pregnancy had an adjusted OR of 3.35 (95% CI = 2.89-3.89) for HDP, compared to women with a gestational BMI gain <5 kg/m2. The increased risk of HDP was also observed among women with higher early pregnancy (up to 18 weeks of pregnancy) GWG (>600g/wk: adjusted OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.19-1.84). Conclusion: The results from this study show that maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, early GWG, and total GWG are positively associated with the risk of HDP. Weight control efforts before and during pregnancy may help to reduce the risk of HDP.
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