Background: In-utero exposures likely influence the onset and severity of obesity in youth. With increasing rates of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and maternal adiposity in pregnancy globally, it is important to assess the impact of these factors on neonatal adipose measures.
Objectives: To evaluate the contribution of maternal ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), gestational weight gain, and hyperglycaemia to neonatal adiposity.
Methods: Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) is a longitudinal cohort study of Australian mother and neonate pairs. In this analysis, Indigenous (n = 519) and Europid (n = 358) women were included, of whom 644 had hyperglycaemia (type 2 diabetes [T2DM], diabetes in pregnancy [DIP], or gestational diabetes [GDM]). Associations between maternal ethnicity, hyperglycaemia, BMI and gestational weight gain, and the neonatal outcomes of length, head circumference, sum of skinfolds, total body fat, and percentage body fat were examined. Models were adjusted for maternal age, smoking status, parity, education, neonatal gender, and gestational age.
Results: Among those with hyperglycaemia in pregnancy, Indigenous women had a higher proportion of T2DM and DIP (36%, 13%) compared with Europid women (4%, 3%). In multivariate analysis, maternal T2DM (compared with no hyperglycaemia), BMI during pregnancy, and excess compared with appropriate gestational weight gain, were significantly associated with greater neonatal measures. DIP was associated with greater sum of skinfolds, total body fat, and percentage body fat. Indigenous ethnicity was associated with greater sum of skinfolds.
Conclusions: Maternal BMI, excess gestational weight gain, and hyperglycaemia operated as independent factors influencing neonatal adiposity. Interventions addressing these factors are needed to reduce neonatal adiposity.