To examine the relationship between maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and neonatal neurobehavior in very premature infants.
Multi-center prospective observational study of 664 very preterm infants with 227 born to obese mothers. The NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS) assessed neurobehavior at NICU discharge.
Elevated BMI combined with infection increased the odds of having the most poorly regulated NNNS profile by 1.9 times per BMI SD. Infants born to mothers with elevated BMI in combination with: infection had poorer self-regulation, chorioamnionitis had increased asymmetrical reflexes, diabetes had poorer attention, and low SES required more handling.
Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI alone did not affect short-term neonatal neurobehavior in infants born before 30 weeks gestation. Infants born to mothers with elevated pre-pregnancy weight in addition to infections, diabetes, or socioeconomic adversity demonstrated increased risk of having the most poorly regulated NNNS profile and deficits in multiple domains.
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Funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Eunice Kennedy Shriver. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) grant R01HD072267.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Nosavan, N.P., Smith, L.M., Dansereau, L.M. et al. Associations between maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index and neonatal neurobehavior in infants born before 30 weeks gestation. J Perinatol 42, 483–490 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-021-01308-y