Obesity is an increasing health problem that has become a common medical disorder among women of childbearing age, representing worldwide a risk factor for stillbirth. The aim of the study is to evaluate the association between placental histopathologic findings and obesity in stillbirth.
Placentas were analyzed according to the Amsterdam consensus statement. Histologic findings in stillbirth from obese and lean mothers were analyzed and compared with those observed in liveborn controls.
Stillbirth in obese mothers displayed placental pathology in all gestational ages, mostly at term of pregnancy. The most observed placental lesions were those consistent with maternal vascular malperfusion of the placental bed. Decidual arteriopathy and placental infarcts appeared specifically associated with maternal obesity. Moreover, obese women with stillbirth showed the highest cumulative number of placental lesions.
Considering the significant association between stillbirth, maternal obesity, and placental histopathologic findings, health care providers should be aware about the importance of placental examination in obese women, especially in stillborn cases. The high prevalence of lesions consistent with vascular malperfusion of the placental bed suggests that stillbirth prevention strategies in obese women should rely on the development of tools to study and improve decidual artery functioning early in pregnancy.