Increased fat mass and cardiac septal hypertrophy in newborn infants of mothers with well-controlled diabetes during pregnancy

Neonatology. 2011;100(2):147-54. doi: 10.1159/000323741. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Background: Improved glycaemic control during pregnancy in mothers with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) and gestational diabetes (GDM) has resulted in a marked reduction of perinatal mortality and morbidity, but the prevalence of macrosomia is usually high.

Objective: We used non-invasive anthropometric methods to estimate the body composition and the thickness of the interventricular heart septum in 18 infants of mothers with well-controlled T1DM, 10 infants of mothers with GDM and 28 infants of healthy control mothers matched for gestational age and mode of delivery.

Methods: Skinfold measurements were obtained with a Harpenden calliper within 48 h after delivery. Echocardiography was also performed to measure the thickness of the interventricular septum. Cord blood was sampled for assays of C-peptide, leptin and IGF-I.

Results: The rates of macrosomia (gestational age-adjusted birth weight >2 standard deviation score, SDS) were 56 and 30% in infants of mothers with T1DM and GDM, respectively, compared to 10% in control infants. The body fat content was 40% (0.2 kg) higher and the interventricular heart septum thickness was increased by 20% in both groups of infants of diabetic mothers. We found no associations between maternal levels of HbA1c during pregnancy and body composition or interventricular heart septum thickness. Cord levels of C-peptide and leptin were significantly higher in infants of T1DM mothers than in control infants. Cord leptin level was associated with birth weight SDS and percent body fat in infants of T1DM mothers. IGF-I was associated with percent body fat in infants of GDM mothers and control mothers. A multiple-regression analysis showed that 50% of the variation in body weight SDS could be determined, with IGF-I, leptin and C-peptide as independent variables.

Conclusion: Both fat mass and cardiac septal thickness are increased in newborn infants of women with T1DM and GDM in spite of efforts to achieve good glycaemic control during pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Macrosomia / epidemiology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / physiology*
  • Heart Septum / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Leptin / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Leptin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I