Article Text

The impact of maternal obesity on fetal adiposity in the third trimester
  1. N Farah1,2,
  2. M Kennelly1,2,
  3. V Donnelly3,
  4. B Stuart1,2,
  5. MJ Turner1,2
  1. 1UCD Centre for Human Reproduction, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Coome Women and Infants' University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3Mount Carmel Hospital, Dublin, Ireland


Maternal obesity is associated with an increase in childhood obesity, but causation remains uncertain. The authors studied the relationship between maternal and fetal body composition in the third trimester.

The study was confined to Caucasian non-diabetic women with a singleton pregnancy. Weight and height were measured in the first trimester. At 28- and 37-week maternal body composition was analysed using advanced bioelectrical impedance, and fetal parameters and soft tissue measurements were measured by ultrasound.

Of the 178 women, the mean body mass index was 28.2 kg/m2 and 66.7% were obese. Fetal adiposity measurements at 28-week gestation did not correlate with maternal body composition. The fetal abdominal circumference (AC) and not abdominal adiposity at 37 weeks correlated with maternal fat mass (FM). Fetal thigh adiposity at 37 weeks correlated with maternal FM. Increase in maternal arm FM and not leg FM correlated with the AC and fetal thigh adiposity measurements at 37 weeks.

Fetal AC and thigh adiposity measurements are influenced by maternal obesity. This supports that the intrauterine environment predisposes the fetus to childhood obesity.

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