n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Metabolic syndrome among pregnant women attending an antenatal care clinic at a tertiary hospital in the Free State province, South Africa - original research

Volume 30 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1029-1962


Metabolic syndrome (MetSy) is a group of interrelated set of conditions that increases the risk of acquiring type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). MetSy has also been linked to increasing adverse obstetric outcomes and causing adult premature mortality. Pregnancy is often associated with excessive weight gain and oedema which also increases the waist circumference. In South Africa, routine screening for metabolic syndrome during antenatal visits is not done, hence the lack of estimates for this syndrome. Using a cross-sectional design, the study explored the prevalence of MetSy, as well as associated factors, in a sample of pregnant women who receive antenatal care at a tertiary hospital in the Free State Province of South Africa. Socio-demographic and clinical data of a sample of 350 pregnant women were collected, and metabolic syndrome was defined as the presence of any three of the five risk factors. The prevalence of MetSy in this sample was 15.46% (n=60), and 42.27% of the sample had 1 risk factor and 38% had two risk factors, which indicates that 80% already have risk factors for MetSy. Sixty-five percent (80 % with risk factors − 25% on chronic treatment for DM,HT and dyslipidaemia) were newly diagnosed with risk factors for MetSy. The two common occurring components of the MetSy were hypertension (26.%) and elevated triglyceride (91.%), which suggests high body fat content. It is concluded that there is a high prevalence of undiagnosed MetSy in this sample. The screening tool enables the screening of pregnant women for metabolic syndrome in all trimesters.

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