OBJECTIVE: Obesity in the offspring of women with hyperglycemia during pregnancy has been reported, but the results are conflicting. This study examined the association of hyperglycemia during pregnancy and anthropometry in 5- to 7-year-old offspring whose mothers participated in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO) Study at the Belfast Centre.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Women in the HAPO study underwent a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at approximately 28 weeks of gestation. Mothers and caregivers remained blinded to the results unless the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) concentration was >5.8 mmol/L or the 2-h plasma glucose (2hPG) concentration was >11.1 mmol/L. Offspring weight, height, and skin-fold thicknesses (triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac) were measured at age 5-7 years. Overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity were defined as a BMI z score ≥85th, ≥95th, and ≥99th percentile, respectively, based on the 1990 British Growth Standard.
RESULTS: Belfast HAPO offspring (n = 1,320, 82%) aged 5-7 years attended for follow-up. Using multiple regression, maternal FPG, 1h PG, and 2hPG did not show any relation to offspring BMI z score or offspring skin-fold sum independent of maternal BMI at OGTT and offspring birth weight z score. This lack of association with maternal glycemia persisted with the offspring BMI z score expressed as ≥85th, ≥95th, or 99th percentile, and the sum of skin folds expressed as ≥90th percentile specific for sex. The initially significant relation between FPG and all offspring adiposity measures was explained by maternal BMI at the OGTT.
CONCLUSIONS: After adjustment for maternal BMI at the OGTT, higher maternal FPG concentration during pregnancy (short of diabetes) is no longer a risk factor for obesity, as reflected by BMI and the sum of skin folds in offspring aged 5-7 years.