Changing perspectives in pre-existing diabetes and obesity in pregnancy: maternal and infant short- and long-term outcomes

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2014 Aug;21(4):257-63. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000079.


Purpose of review: Climbing obesity rates in women have propelled the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in pregnancy, and an increasing number of women with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) are also affected by obesity. Increasing recognition that an intrauterine environment characterized by obesity, insulin resistance, nutrient excess, and diabetes may be fueling the obesity epidemic in children has created enormous pressure to re-examine the conventional wisdom of our current approaches.

Recent findings: Compelling data in pregnancies complicated by diabetes, in particular those accompanied by insulin resistance and obesity, support a fetal programming effect resulting in increased susceptibility to metabolic disease for the offspring later in life. Recent data also underscore the contribution of obesity, lipids, and lesser degrees of hyperglycemia on fetal fat accretion, challenging the wisdom of current gestational weight gain recommendations with and without diabetes. The risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes in T2DM are at least as high as in T1DM and there remains controversy about the ideal glucose treatment targets, the benefit of different insulin analogues, and the role of continuous glucose monitoring in T1DM and T2DM.

Summary: It has become unmistakably evident that achieving optimal outcomes in mothers with diabetes is clearly impacted by ideal glycemic control but goes far beyond it. The intrauterine metabolic environment seems to have long-term implications on the future health of the offspring so that the effectiveness of our current approaches can no longer be simply measured by whether or not maternal glucose values are at goal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Glucose Self-Monitoring
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Hyperglycemia / complications*
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Mothers
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / blood
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / blood
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*
  • Prevalence


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin