The infant of the diabetic mother: correlation of increased cord C-peptide levels with macrosomia and hypoglycemia

N Engl J Med. 1979 Oct 18;301(16):859-62. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197910183011603.


C peptide is secreted by pancreatic beta cells in amounts equimolar with insulin, and its levels provide a direct indication of endogenous fetal levels of insulin despite the presence of maternal insulin antibodies. To determine the presence of hyperinsulinemia and its relation to the development of complications in infants of diabetic mothers, we measured cord serum levels of C peptide in 79 infants of diabetic mothers and 62 infants of nondiabetic mothers. Infants of diabetic mothers had higher cord levels of C peptide, which were significantly associated with neonatal hypoglycemia and macrosomia (P less than 0.001) but not with hyaline-membrane disease. Cord levels of C peptide in infants of diabetic mothers were elevated at the earliest gestational age studied (less than 34 weeks) and were directly related to the severity of maternal diabetes, as assessed by the White classification. We conclude that hyperinsulinemia is present in infants of diabetic mothers and that it is related to some major complications in such infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • C-Peptide / blood*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / analysis*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyaline Membrane Disease / etiology
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / blood
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / etiology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Peptides / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / blood*


  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Peptides