A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis have revealed significant connections between adverse pregnancy outcomes and heightened risks of long-term renal disease in mothers. The study protocol, published in BMJ Open, aims to synthesize evidence linking conditions such as hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP), gestational diabetes (GDM), preterm birth, and delivery of low birth-weight infants to future maternal kidney disease. This article delves into the details and implications of these findings and the interplay between pregnancy complications and renal health.

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027180.


Renal disease, encompassing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), is a major global health issue, with its prevalence rapidly rising. Encumbered by significant morbidity and mortality, CKD is a condition that is not only burdensome in terms of healthcare costs but also deeply impacts patients’ quality of life. Understanding the risk factors that lead to renal disease is paramount in developing strategies for prevention, early detection, and management.

Linking Pregnancy Complications and Maternal Renal Disease

Pregnancy serves as a stress test for women, unveiling potential susceptibilities to future health issues. Chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease have already been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Building upon this perspective, a team of researchers has proposed a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol to explore the correlation between pregnancy-related complications and long-term renal consequences for mothers.

The focus is on defining the extent to which conditions such as HDP, inclusive of pre-eclampsia (PE), GDM, as well as preterm birth, and delivery of low birth-weight infants, can independently predict maternal kidney disease risks later in life.

The Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocol

The research protocol, as outlined by Barrett et al. (2020) in BMJ Open, has set out to comprehensively consider case-control and cohort studies reported in English. By employing a detailed search strategy across PubMed, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases, the researchers aim to collect relevant data. CKD and ESKD have been highlighted as the primary outcomes, while secondary outcomes include hospitalizations and fatalities related to renal disease.

Two independent authors will ensure the robustness of the review by performing meticulous data extraction and scrutinizing the quality of the studies included. The preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) and the Meta-analyses Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines will underpin their methodology, promising a thorough and unbiased synthesis of the available evidence.

Preliminary Evidence and the Broader Context

Several individual studies have suggested links between conditions like preeclampsia and microalbuminuria, a marker of kidney damage post-pregnancy. However, a clear consensus has remained elusive regarding whether these pregnancy complications pose a consistent risk for long-term maternal CKD and ESKD.

This ambiguity underlines the critical nature of the proposed review. The task at hand is not trivial – the researchers have embarked on a mission to either solidify or question these associations, with compelling consequences for women’s health globally.

The preliminary data suggest that gestational diabetes increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in mothers. The development of such metabolic syndromes may pave the way for future kidney damage. Furthermore, hypertensive disorders during pregnancy can indicate underlying endothelial dysfunction, a risk factor for both cardiovascular and renal diseases.

Implications for Clinical Practice and Public Health

If the proposed systematic review and meta-analysis substantiate the causative link between adverse pregnancy outcomes and future renal disease, the findings could revolutionize how we approach maternal health. Pregnancy could be seen as a window of opportunity to identify women at risk of CKD and ESKD, leading to interventions that may mitigate this risk.

The implications for public health would be substantial. Pregnancy might function as an early screening phase, and clinical practice would need to adapt to monitor and manage these risks proactively. Both obstetric care and long-term follow-up programs would incorporate strategies to recognize and address renal health preemptively, potentially averting the progression to CKD or ESKD.


The anticipated study by Barrett et al. holds the potential to unlock vital insights into the connection between adversities experienced during pregnancy and the overall trajectory of women’s renal health. This systematic review and meta-analysis may establish a much-needed evidence base, spurring a paradigm shift in both clinical practice and public health strategies. By embracing a holistic view of women’s health that includes their reproductive and renal health experiences, we can aim for a future where the long-term well-being of mothers is secured.


1. Barrett PM, McCarthy FP, Kublickiene K, et al. Adverse pregnancy outcomes and long-term risk of maternal renal disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. BMJ Open. 2020;9(5):e027180. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027180.

2. McDonald S, Han Z, Michael W, et al. Renal disease after preeclampsia: a systematic review and meta-analyses. Pregnancy Hypertens. 2010;1:S41. DOI: 10.1016/S2210-7789(10)60165-1.

3. Bellamy L, Casas JP, Hingorani AD, et al. Type 2 diabetes mellitus after gestational diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2009;373:1773-9. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60731-5.

4. Jeyabalan A. Epidemiology of preeclampsia: impact of obesity. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(Suppl 1):S18–25. DOI: 10.1111/nure.12055.

5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Hypertension in pregnancy. Report of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;122:1122-31. DOI: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000437382.03963.88.


1. Pregnancy complications renal disease
2. Maternal CKD ESKD risk
3. Long-term kidney outcomes pregnancy
4. Gestational diabetes kidney health
5. Preeclampsia chronic renal failure