Original Article | Published:

Maternal weight gain in different periods of pregnancy and childhood cardio-metabolic outcomes. The Generation R Study

International Journal of Obesity volume 39, pages 677685 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Background:

Excessive gestational weight gain seems to be associated with offspring cardio-metabolic risk factors. Little is known about the critical periods of gestational weight gain. We examined the associations of maternal weight gain in different periods of pregnancy with childhood cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Methods:

In a population-based prospective cohort study from early pregnancy onwards among 5908 mothers and their children, we obtained maternal prepregnancy weight and weight in early, mid and late pregnancy. At the age of 6 years (median: 72.6 months; 95% range: 67.9, 95.8), we measured childhood body mass index (BMI), total body and abdominal fat distribution, blood pressure and blood levels of lipids, insulin and c-peptide.

Results:

Overall, the associations of maternal prepregnancy weight with childhood outcomes were stronger than the associations of maternal gestational weight gain. Independent from maternal prepregnancy weight and weight gain in other periods, higher weight gain in early pregnancy was associated with higher childhood BMI, total fat mass, android/gynoid fat mass ratio, abdominal subcutaneous fat mass and systolic blood pressure (P-values<0.05). Independent associations of maternal weight gain in early pregnancy with childhood abdominal preperitoneal fat mass, insulin and c-peptide were of borderline significance. Higher weight gain in mid pregnancy was independently associated with higher childhood BMI, total and abdominal subcutaneous fat mass and systolic blood pressure (P-values<0.05). The associations for childhood cardio-metabolic outcomes attenuated after adjustment for childhood BMI. Weight gain in late pregnancy was not associated with childhood outcomes. Higher weight gain in early, but not in mid or late pregnancy, was associated with increased risks of childhood overweight and clustering of cardio-metabolic risk factors (odds ratio (OR) 1.19 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.10, 1.29) and OR 1.20 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.35) per standard deviation increase in early gestational weight gain, respectively).

Conclusions:

Higher weight gain in early pregnancy is associated with an adverse cardio-metabolic profile in offspring. This association is largely mediated by childhood adiposity.

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Acknowledgements

The general design of the Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families. Research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013), project EarlyNutrition under grant agreement n°289346. OHF received a grant from Pfizer Nutrition to set up a new intergenerational center of ageing research (ErasmusAGE). VWVJ received an additional grant from the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (VIDI 016.136.361).

Author Contributions

Drs Gaillard and Jaddoe had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design: Drs Gaillard and Jaddoe. Acquisition of data: Drs Steegers, Hofman, Franco and Jaddoe. Analysis and interpretation of data: Drs Gaillard and Jaddoe. Drafting of the manuscript: Drs Gaillard and Jaddoe. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Drs Gaillard, Steegers, Hofman, Franco and Jaddoe. Statistical analysis: Drs Gaillard and Jaddoe. Study supervision: Drs Hofman and Jaddoe. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript. Additional Contributions: We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of general practitioners, hospitals, midwives, and pharmacies in Rotterdam.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. The Generation R Study Group, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • R Gaillard
    •  & V W V Jaddoe
  2. Department of Pediatrics, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • R Gaillard
    •  & V W V Jaddoe
  3. Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • R Gaillard
    • , O H Franco
    • , A Hofman
    •  & V W V Jaddoe
  4. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    • E A P Steegers

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Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to V W V Jaddoe.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ijo.2014.175

Supplementary Information accompanies this paper on International Journal of Obesity website (http://www.nature.com/ijo)

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