Background: A substantial proportion of maternal pregnancy complications, adverse birth outcomes and neurodevelopmental delay in children may be attributable to high maternal pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI). However, BMI alone is insufficient for the identification of all at-risk mothers and children as many women with non-obesity(< 30 kg/m2) or normal weight(18.5–24.99 kg/m2) and their children may suffer from adversities. Evidence suggests that BMI-related metabolic changes during pregnancy may predict adverse mother–child outcomes better than maternal anthropometric BMI. Methods: In a cohort of 425 mother–child dyads, we identified maternal BMI-defined metabolome based on associations of 95 metabolic measures measured three times during pregnancy with maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. We then examined whether maternal BMI-defined metabolome performed better than anthropometric BMI in predicting gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, gestational weight gain (GWG), Caesarian section delivery, child gestational age and weight at birth, preterm birth, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and childhood neurodevelopment. Based on metabolic measures with the highest contributions to BMI-defined metabolome, including inflammatory and glycolysis-related measures, fatty acids, fluid balance, ketone bodies, lipids and amino acids, we created a set of maternal high BMI-related polymetabolic risk scores (PMRSs), and in an independent replication cohort of 489 mother–child dyads tested their performance in predicting the same set of mother–child outcomes in comparison to anthropometric BMI. Results: BMI-defined metabolome predicted all of the studied mother–child outcomes and improved their prediction over anthropometric BMI, except for gestational hypertension and GWG. BMI-related PMRSs predicted gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, Caesarian section delivery, admission to NICU, lower gestational age at birth, lower cognitive development score of the child, and improved their prediction over anthropometric BMI. BMI-related PMRSs predicted gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, Caesarean section delivery, NICU admission and child’s lower gestational age at birth even at the levels of maternal non-obesity and normal weight. Conclusions: Maternal BMI-defined metabolome improves the prediction of pregnancy complications, birth outcomes, and neurodevelopment in children over anthropometric BMI. The novel, BMI-related PMRSs generated based on the BMI-defined metabolome have the potential to become biomarkers identifying at-risk mothers and their children for timely targeted interventions even at the level of maternal non-obesity and normal weight.

TidskriftBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Antal sidor16
StatusPublicerad - 24 jan. 2024
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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© 2024, The Author(s).


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