Metabolic Profiling of Pregnant Women with Obesity: An Exploratory Study in Women at Greater Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Ola Quotah, Lucilla Poston, Angela Flynn, Sara White*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most prevalent obstetric conditions, particularly among women with obesity. Pathways to hyperglycaemia remain obscure and a better understanding of the pathophysiology would facilitate early detection and targeted intervention. Among obese women from the UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial (UPBEAT), we aimed to compare metabolic profiles early and mid-pregnancy in women identified as high-risk of developing GDM, stratified by GDM diagnosis. Using a GDM prediction model combining maternal age, mid-arm circumference, systolic blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides and HbA1c, 231 women were identified as being at higher-risk, of whom 119 women developed GDM. Analyte data (nuclear magnetic resonance and conventional) were compared between higher-risk women who developed GDM and those who did not at timepoint 1 (15+0–18+6 weeks) and at timepoint 2 (23+2–30+0 weeks). The adjusted regression analyses revealed some differences in the early second trimester between those who developed GDM and those who did not, including lower adiponectin and glutamine concentrations, and higher C-peptide concentrations (FDR-adjusted p < 0.005, < 0.05, < 0.05 respectively). More differences were evident at the time of GDM diagnosis (timepoint 2) including greater impairment in β-cell function (as assessed by HOMA2-%B), an increase in the glycolysis-intermediate pyruvate (FDR-adjusted p < 0.001, < 0.05 respectively) and differing lipid profiles. The liver function marker γ-glutamyl transferase was higher at both timepoints (FDR-adjusted p < 0.05). This exploratory study underlines the difficulty in early prediction of GDM development in high-risk women but adds to the evidence that among pregnant women with obesity, insulin secretory dysfunction may be an important discriminator for those who develop GDM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number922
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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