Journal of the Endocrine Society Journal Article

Gestational Weight Gain and Glucose Metabolism

February 01, 2021
 

Fernanda L Alvarado, Perrie O’Tierney-Ginn, Patrick Catalano
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, February 2021, bvaa195
https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvaa195

Abstract

Context

Efforts to decrease the risk of developing metabolic complications of pregnancy such as gestational diabetes (GDM) through lifestyle intervention (decreasing excessive gestational weight gain (GWG)) during pregnancy have met with limited success.

Objective

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between the longitudinal changes in weight/body composition and insulin sensitivity and response in women with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and those who developed GDM.

Design

We conducted a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort developed before conception and again at 34 to 36 weeks gestation. A total of 29 NGT and 17 GDM women were evaluated for longitudinal changes in insulin sensitivity/response using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and an IV-glucose tolerance test. Body composition was estimated using hydrodensitometry. Both absolute change (Δ) and relative change (%Δ) between these 2 time points were calculated. We performed simple and multiple linear regression analysis to assess the relationship between GWG and measures of glucose metabolism, ie, insulin sensitivity and response.

Results

Based on the primary study design there was no significant difference in clinical characteristics between women with NGT and those developing GDM. Prior to pregnancy, women who developed GDM had lower insulin sensitivity levels (P = 0.01) compared with NGT women. Absolute change and %Δ in insulin sensitivity/insulin response and body weight/body composition were not significantly different between NGT and GDM women. Changes in body weight contributed to only 9% of the Δ in insulin sensitivity both in women developing GDM and NGT women.

Conclusions

These data suggest that other factors—such as maternal pre-pregnancy insulin sensitivity and placental derived factors affecting insulin sensitivity—rather than maternal GWG account for the changes in glucose metabolism during human pregnancy.

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