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Breastfeeding and growth trajectory from birth to 5 years among children exposed and unexposed to gestational diabetes mellitus in utero



This study aims to evaluate the association between exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus and growth trajectory from birth to 5 years and to test whether breastfeeding influences this association among children exposed and unexposed to gestational diabetes.

Study design

Weight at 0, 6, 12, and 18 months and 2, 3, 4, and 5 years were retrospectively collected for 103 children exposed and 63 children unexposed to gestational diabetes. Weight-for-age z-score was calculated. Mixed linear model for repeated measurements were computed to test whether breastfeeding was associated differently with weight-for-age z-score of children exposed or unexposed to diabetes.


Children exposed to gestational diabetes had greater z-score values at 6 months and 4 and 5 years (p < 0.10). Breastfeeding duration was not associated with weight-for-age z-score trajectory in any children.


Children exposed to gestational diabetes had a different growth trajectory in early life, but breastfeeding duration did not seem to influence this association.

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Fig. 1: Weight-for-age z-score trajectory according to in utero exposure to GDM.


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The authors would like to thank Didier Brassard, M.Sc., RD (NUTRISS, INAF, Université Laval), David Simonyan (Clinical and Evaluative Research Platform, CHU de Québec, Université Laval), and Pierre Gagnon (NUTRISS, INAF, Université Laval) for their assistance with statistical analyses.


This research was funded by Diabetes Canada (Grant number: OG-3-14-4543-JR, 2014-2017 to JR) and the Danone Institute of Canada. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results. CD received scholarship from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé.

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SJW, IM, and JR participated in the conception and the design of the study. CD, MK, and JP made a substantial contribution to data acquisition. CD and JR participated in data analysis and interpretation. CD wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors revised it critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version. JR is responsible for the integrity of the study.

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Correspondence to Julie Robitaille.

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Dugas, C., Kearney, M., Perron, J. et al. Breastfeeding and growth trajectory from birth to 5 years among children exposed and unexposed to gestational diabetes mellitus in utero. J Perinatol 41, 1033–1042 (2021).

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