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Purpose: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and preeclampsia are leading causes of mortality and morbidity in mothers and children. High childhood body mass index (BMI) is among their myriad of negative outcomes. However, little is known about the trajectory of the child BMI exposed to GDM and co-occurring preeclampsia from early to mid-childhood. This study examined the independent and joint impact of GDM and preeclampsia on childhood BMI trajectory.

Methods: A population-based sample of 356 mothers were recruited from OB/GYN clinics in New York. Their children were then followed annually from 18 to 72 months. Maternal GDM and preeclampsia status were obtained from medical records. Child BMI was calculated based on their height and weight at annual visits.

Results: Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to evaluate the trajectories of child BMI exposed to GDM and preeclampsia. BMI trajectory by GDM decreased (t-ratio = -2.24, ��=.45, 95% CI=-.05-.95, p = .07), but the trajectory by preeclampsia increased over time (t-ratio = 3.153, ��=.65, 95%CI=.11-1.18, p = .002). Moreover, there was a significant interaction between the two (t-ratio = -2.24, ��=-1.244, 95%CI=.15-2.33, p = .02), such that the BMI of children born to mothers with both GDM and preeclampsia showed consistent increases over time.

Conclusions: GDM and preeclampsia could be used as a marker for childhood obesity risk and the identification of a high-risk group, providing potential early intervention. These findings highlight the importance of managing obstetric complications, as an effective method of child obesity prevention.


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Available for download on Thursday, January 28, 2021