Growth and neurodevelopmental outcome of children born to mothers with pregestational and gestational diabetes

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Diabetes during pregnancy may be associated with a high rate of congenital anomalies, disturbances of intrauterine growth and often post-natal neurobehavioral abnormalities in the offspring. The latter are associated with pregestational (PGD) as well as with gestational diabetes (GD). In this review we discuss the effects of maternal glucose intolerance on the long-term growth and development of the offspring. In well-controlled diabetes, birth weight is often within normal limits while in partially controlled diabetes newborns are often macrosomic. In PGD mothers with nephropathy, newborns tend to be born prematurely and small for gestational age (SGA). Offspring of diabetic mothers are often large and overweight in comparison to controls. Their long-term development is sometimes impaired. Delayed brain maturity is often observed in newborns of diabetic mothers compared to controls. The IQ scores of the children born to well controlled diabetic mothers are generally similar to that of control children. However, these children perform less well than controls in fine and gross motor functions. They also seem to have a higher rate of inattention and/or hyperactivity as observed by various tests and questionnaires. In our studies we found, in accordance with published literature, a negative correlation between the performance of the children born to mothers with PGD or GD on various neurodevelopmental and behavioral tests and the severity of maternal hyperglycemia as assessed by blood glycosylated hemoglobin levels and acetonuria. In conclusion: PGD or GD may adversely affect intrauterine and postnatal growth, attention span and motor functions of the offspring, but not their cognitive ability unless complicated by nephropathy or hypertension. These effects are negatively correlated with the degree of maternal glycemic control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Endocrinology Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Development
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Growth
  • Hyperactivity
  • IQ
  • Inattention
  • Pregestational Diabetes


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