Racial and ethnic disparities in extremes of fetal growth after gestational diabetes mellitus

Diabetologia. 2015 Feb;58(2):272-81. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3420-8. Epub 2014 Oct 24.


Aims/hypothesis: The aim of this study was to assess and compare risks of having large- or small-for gestational age (LGA and SGA, respectively) infants born to women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) from ten racial/ethnic groups.

Methods: LGA and SGA were defined as birthweight >90th and <10th percentile, respectively, specific to each racial/ethnic population and infant sex. Risks of LGA and SGA were compared among a retrospective cohort of 29,544 GDM deliveries from Hispanic, non-Hispanic white (NHW), non-Hispanic black (NHB), Filipino, Chinese, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Pacific Islander (PI) groups of women.

Results: Unadjusted LGA and SGA risks varied among the ten groups. For LGA, the highest risk was in infants born to NHB women (17.2%), followed by those born to PI (16.2%), Hispanic (14.5%), NHW (13.1%), Asian Indian (12.8%), Filipino (11.6%) and other Asian (9.6-11.1%) women (p < 0.0001). Compared with NHW, the LGA risk was significantly greater for NHB women with GDM (RR 1.25 [95% CI 1.11-1.40]; p = 0.0001 after adjustment for maternal characteristics). Further adjustment for maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain in the sub-cohort with available data (n = 8,553) greatly attenuated the elevated LGA risk for NHB women. For SGA, the risks ranged from 5.6% to 11.3% (p = 0.003) where most groups (8/10) had risks that were lower than the population-expected 10% and risks were not significantly different from those in NHW women.

Conclusions/interpretation: These data suggest that variation in extremes of fetal growth associated with GDM deliveries across race/ethnicity can be explained by maternal characteristics, maternal obesity and gestational weight gain. Women should be advised to target a normal weight and appropriate weight gain for pregnancies; this is particularly important for NHB women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian People*
  • Birth Weight
  • Black People*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Gain*
  • White People*