BACKGROUND: Although previous studies evaluated the association of maternal health parameters with neonatal adiposity, little is known regarding the complexity of the relationships among different maternal health parameters throughout pregnancy and its impact on neonatal adiposity.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the direct and indirect associations between maternal insulin resistance during pregnancy, in women with obesity, and neonatal adiposity. In addition, associations between maternal fasting glucose, triglycerides (TG), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), and neonatal adiposity were also assessed.
METHODS: This is a longitudinal, secondary analysis of the DALI study, an international project conducted in nine European countries with pregnant women with obesity. Maternal insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), fasting glucose, TG, and NEFA were measured three times during pregnancy (<20, 24-28, and 35-37 weeks of gestation). Offspring neonatal adiposity was estimated by the sum of four skinfolds. Structural equation modelling was conducted to evaluate the direct and indirect relationships among the variables of interest.
RESULTS: Data on 657 mother-infant pairs (50.7% boys) were analysed. Neonatal boys exhibited lower mean sum of skinfolds compared to girls (20.3 mm, 95% CI 19.7, 21.0 vs 21.5 mm, 95% CI 20.8, 22.2). In boys, maternal HOMA-IR at <20 weeks was directly associated with neonatal adiposity (β = 0.35 mm, 95% CI 0.01, 0.70). In girls, maternal HOMA-IR at 24-28 weeks was only indirectly associated with neonatal adiposity, which implies that this association was mediated via maternal HOMA-IR, glucose, triglycerides, and NEFA during pregnancy (β = 0.26 mm, 95% CI 0.08, 0.44).
CONCLUSIONS: The timing of the role of maternal insulin resistance on neonatal adiposity depends on fetal sex. Although the association was time-dependent, maternal insulin resistance was associated with neonatal adiposity in both sexes.