Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: Other
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 6
Kari Anne I. Evensen, PhD (she/her/hers)
Trondheim, Sor-Trondelag, Norway
Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are at risk of metabolic disturbances such as diabetes mellitus and overweight. However, few have examined the outcome of children whose mothers were at risk of GDM.
Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate how the mothers’ risk of developing GDM affects the physical health and neurodevelopment of the children at 7 years of age.
A multicentre randomised controlled trial including 855 pregnant women was carried out at St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, and Stavanger University Hospital in Norway from 2007-2009. In a follow-up study, we divided pregnant women into a risk (n=68) and a no risk group (n=189), where the risk group had one or more risk factors for GDM. At seven years of age, the children’s height, weight, and physical activity were reported by their parents. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were assessed using the Five-To-Fifteen questionnaire, which includes motor skills, executive functions, perception, memory, language, social skills, and emotional/behavioural problems.
Children in the risk group had higher birth weight and length at birth compared with the no risk group. At the follow-up at 7 years of age, children in the risk group had higher weight and body mass index (BMI). The odds of being overweight (iso-BMI ≥25 kg/m2) was 3.31 (95% CI: 1.21-9.04) and did not change when we adjusted for the children’s birthweight, sex, age at follow up, and maternal socioeconomic status. There were no group differences in the children’s physical activity. The children in the risk group had reduced social skills compared with the no risk group, but otherwise their neurodevelopmental outcomes were similar.
In this study, we found that the BMI and the social skills of children born to mothers with risk factors for developing GDM were negatively impacted. We therefore encourage the modifiable risk factors for GDM to be prevented.