Context: Maternal obesity and gestational weight gain are linked to offspring adverse metabolic profiles, and lifestyle interventions during pregnancy in obese women may have long-term positive effects on their children. Furthermore, although the association between birth weight and later metabolic outcomes is well established, little is known about the predictive value of abdominal circumference at birth.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the effects of lifestyle interventions during pregnancy in obese women on offspring metabolic risk factors and (2) predictive values of birth weight (BW) and birth abdominal circumference (BAC).
Design: This was a follow-up of a randomized controlled trial, the Lifestyle in Pregnancy (LiP) study.
Setting: The study was conducted in Odense and Aarhus University Hospitals, Denmark.
Participants: We studied the offspring of LiP study participants (n = 157) and offspring of normal-weight mothers (external reference group, n = 97).
Intervention: INTERVENTIONs included dietary advice, coaching, and exercise during pregnancy.
Main outcome measures: The outcome measures were body mass index (BMI) Z-score, abdominal circumference, blood pressure, and fasting plasma glucose, insulin, high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides at the age of 2.8 years.
Results: No differences were detected in BMI Z-scores or metabolic risk factors between the LiP intervention and control groups or between the LiP and external reference groups. BAC and BW were associated (all P < .05) with BMI Z-score (0.19-0.23), abdominal circumference (0.57-0.70), plasma glucose (0.11-0.09), insulin (4.33-3.13), and triglycerides (0.07-0.07) but not with blood pressure or high-density lipoprotein (regression coefficients per increase in BAC and BW of 1 SD score).
Conclusions: Early childhood metabolic risk factors were unaffected by lifestyle interventions in obese pregnant women. Offspring of obese mothers who participated in the LiP study were comparable to offspring of normal-weight mothers, possibly indicating a general beneficial effect of trial participation. BAC and BW were both associated with later metabolic risk factors.