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Treating Gestational Diabetes Reduces Birth Weight but Does Not Affect Infant Adiposity Across the 1st Year of Life

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posted on 09.03.2022, 13:52 by Ravi Retnakaran, Chang Ye, Anthony J Hanley, Philip W Connelly, Mathew Sermer, Bernard Zinman, Jill K Hamilton
Background: The continuum of maternal glycemia in pregnancy shows continuous associations with both (i) neonatal birthweight at delivery and (ii) subsequent adiposity later in childhood. While treating gestational diabetes (GDM) can lower birthweight and thereby disrupt the former association, it is unclear if such treatment reduces childhood adiposity. Thus, we sought to compare anthropometry across the 1st year of life between infants born to women who were treated for GDM and those with lesser degrees of gestational dysglycemia (untreated).

Methods: Anthropometric measurements were performed at 3-months and 12-months of life in 567 infants born to women comprising the following 4 gestational glucose tolerance groups: (i) women with normoglycemia on both glucose challenge test (GCT) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in pregnancy; (ii) women with an abnormal GCT but normal OGTT; (iii) those with mild gestational impaired glucose tolerance; and (iv) women treated for GDM.
Results: Birthweight progressively increased across the 3 untreated groups but was lowest in women treated for GDM (p=0.0004). Similarly, women treated for GDM had the lowest rate of macrosomia (p=0.02). Conversely, however, there were no differences between the 4 groups in weight Z-score, length Z-score, weight-for-length Z-score or BMI Z-score at either 3-months or 12-months (all p=NS). Similarly, there were no differences between the groups in triceps/biceps/subscapular/suprailiac skinfold thickness or sum of skinfolds at either 3-months or 12-months (all p=NS).
Conclusion: Despite reducing birthweight and macrosomia, the treatment of GDM does not have analogous effects on infant adiposity across the 1st year of life.


This study was supported by operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)(MOP-84206 and PJT-156286).