Pre-gestational diabetes: Maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain are associated with augmented umbilical venous flow, fetal liver perfusion, and thus birthweight
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2021, 16 (8), e0256171. 10.1371/journal.pone.0256171
Objectives To assess how maternal body mass index and gestational weight gain are related to on fetal venous liver flow and birthweight in pregnancies with pre-gestational diabetes mellitus. Methods In a longitudinal observational study, 49 women with pre-gestational diabetes mellitus were included for monthly assessments (gestational weeks 24–36). According to the Institute Of Medicine criteria, body mass index was categorized to underweight, normal, overweight, and obese, while gestational weight gain was classified as insufficient, appropriate or excessive. Fetal size, portal flow, umbilical venous flow and distribution to the fetal liver or ductus venosus were determined using ultrasound techniques. The impact of fetal venous liver perfusion on birthweight and how body mass index and gestational weight gain modified this effect, was compared with a reference population (n = 160). Results The positive association between umbilical flow to liver and birthweight was more pronounced in pregnancies with pre-gestational diabetes mellitus than in the reference population. Overweight and excessive gestational weight gain were associated with higher birthweights in women with pre-gestational diabetes mellitus, but not in the reference population. Fetuses of overweight women with pre-gestational diabetes mellitus had higher umbilical (p = 0.02) and total venous liver flows (p = 0.02), and a lower portal flow fraction (p = 0.04) than in the reference population. In pre-gestational diabetes mellitus pregnancies with excessive gestational weight gain, the umbilical flow to liver was higher than in those with appropriate weight gain (p = 0.02). Conclusions The results support the hypothesis that umbilical flow to the fetal liver is a key determinant for fetal growth and birthweight modifiable by maternal factors. Maternal pre-gestational diabetes mellitus seems to augment this influence as shown with body mass index and gestational weight gain.