Waist hip ratio in early pregnancy as a clinical indicator of serum lipid levels and predictor of pregnancy complications

Divya Khare, Jyoti Nath Modi


Background: Deranged lipid profile has been associated with pregnancy complications such as gestational hypertension. The waist hip ratio (WHR) is one of the measures of body fat distribution. This research work aims to study whether WHR in early pregnancy correlates with serum lipid levels so as to serve as a clinical indicator of dyslipidemia, and as a predictor of pregnancy complications.

Methods: As a part of a larger ongoing cohort study, interim data analysis was carried out for the 120 antenatal women recruited in early pregnancy (upto 16 weeks). At the first antenatal visit WHR, body mass index (BMI) and serum lipid profile including lipid risk ratios were measured and clinical information recorded. The women were followed through pregnancy till delivery and antenatal complications noted. The cut-off for WHR was taken at 0.80 as per Indian guidelines.

Results: Of the 120 pregnant women, 94 (78%) had WHR >0.80 and 26 women had WHR≤0.80. The mean BMI of women in the first group (WHR >0.80) was significantly higher than that of the second group. However, the mean levels of each of the lipid components and the risk ratios were not significantly different between the two groups. Overall (N=120), the WHR showed weak positive correlation only with very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) serum levels. The group of women with WHR >0.80 had a higher rate of developing gestational hypertension. The babies born to these mothers also had a higher rate (5.3%) of admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Conclusions: The waist hip ratio in early pregnancy has the potential to serve as a clinical indicator of lipid levels. It can also be explored as a predictor of pregnancy complications such as gestational hypertension in larger cohort studies.


Waist hip ratio, Early pregnancy, Pregnancy complications, Body mass index, Lipid profile

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