PURPOSE: Low birth weight (BW) and low ponderal index (PI) are associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study has two purposes: first to investigate the influence of PI on the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM); second, to study the association between glucose metabolism and BW in women with previous GDM.
METHODS: GDM cohort: 185 women with GDM in 1978-1996, attending a follow-up study in 2000-2002. Control cohort: 1137 women from a population-based diabetes screening study (Inter99) in a neighbouring county in 1999-2001. BW and birth length were collected from the original midwifery records. BW and PI were stratified into tertiles for analysis.
RESULTS: PI in the lower tertiles was associated with an increased risk of GDM [odds ratio 1.59 (95% confidence interval 1.07-2.36, p = 0.021)]. Among women with previous GDM, the area under the curve (AUC) for plasma levels of glucose and insulin during an OGTT was highest for the lower tertiles of BW (for AUCglucose p = 0.048, for AUCinsulin p = 0.047 adjusted for age and BMI).
CONCLUSIONS: Lower PI is associated with increased risk of GDM. In women with previous GDM, lower BW is associated with a more severe impairment of glucose metabolism one to two decades after the pregnancy complicated by GDM.