School-age children born to diabetic mothers and to mothers with gestational diabetes exhibit a high rate of inattention and fine and gross motor impairment

Asher Ornoy, N. Ratzon, C. Greenbaum, A. Wolf, M. Dulitzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Objectives: To study the neurobehavioral effects that progestational and gestatational diabetes might have on offspring at school age. Study Design: We studied neurobehavioral function at school age of 57 children born to 48, well controlled, diabetic mothers and of 32 children born to 32 women with gestational diabetes. Their development was compared with 57 control children matched by age, birth order and parental socio-economic status, using a number of cognitive, behavioral, sensory and motor neurological tests. Results: The IQ scores on the WISC-R and Bender tests of the children born to diabetic mothers were similar to those of control children, but the Bender scores of the children born to mothers with gestational diabetes were slightly lower. No differences were found between the study groups in various sensory-motor functions in comparison to controls. However, both study group children performed less well than controls in fine and gross motor functions as observed on the Bruininks-Oseretzki test of motor proficiency. The scores of children born to the mothers with pregestational diabetes were higher than controls on the Touwen & Prechtl neurological examination (worse function). The children from both research groups also performed worse on the Pollack taper test that is designed to detect inattention and hyperactivity. The children of the two study groups also had slightly higher scores on the Conners abbreviated parents-teachers questionnaire measuring hyperactivity and inattention, but the differences from controls were not statistically significant. We found a negative correlation between the performance of the children born to mothers with pregestational diabetes on various neurodevelopmental and behavioral tests and the severity of maternal hyperglycemia as assessed by blood glycosylated hemoglobin levels and acetonuria. Conclusions: Pregestational or gestational diabetes was found to adversely affect attention span and motor functions of offspring at school age, but not their cognitive ability. These effects were negatively correlated with the degree of maternal glycemic control, and were more pronounced in younger children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-689
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Gestational diabetes
  • IQ
  • Neurological functions
  • Pregestational diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • School-aged children


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