Relationships between maternal obesity and maternal and neonatal iron status

SCOPE and UPBEAT Consortiums, Angela C. Flynn, Shahina Begum, Sara L. White, Kathryn Dalrymple, Carolyn Gill, Nisreen A. Alwan, Mairead Kiely, Gladys Latunde-Dada, Ruth Bell, Annette L. Briley, Scott M. Nelson, Eugene Oteng-Ntim, Jane Sandall, Thomas A. Sanders, Melissa Whitworth, Deirdre M. Murray, Louise C. Kenny, Lucilla Poston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
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Obesity in pregnancy may negatively influence maternal and infant iron status. The aim of this study was to examine the association of obesity with inflammatory and iron status in both mother and infant in two prospective studies in pregnancy: UPBEAT and SCOPE. Maternal blood samples from obese (n = 245, BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) and normal weight (n = 245, BMI < 25 kg/m2) age matched pregnant women collected at approximately 15 weeks’ gestation, and umbilical cord blood samples collected at delivery, were analysed for a range of inflammatory and iron status biomarkers. Concentrations of C-reactive protein and Interleukin-6 in obese women compared to normal weight women were indicative of an inflammatory response. Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentration [18.37 nmol/L (SD 5.65) vs 13.15 nmol/L (SD 2.33)] and the ratio of sTfR and serum ferritin [1.03 (SD 0.56) vs 0.69 (SD 0.23)] were significantly higher in obese women compared to normal weight women (P < 0.001). Women from ethnic minority groups (n = 64) had higher sTfR concentration compared with white women. There was no difference in maternal hepcidin between obese and normal weight women. Iron status determined by cord ferritin was not statistically different in neonates born to obese women compared with neonates born to normal weight women when adjusted for potential confounding variables. Obesity is negatively associated with markers of maternal iron status, with ethnic minority women having poorer iron statuses than white women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1000
Number of pages10
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Iron status
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy


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