Maternal rates of lipolysis and glucose production in late pregnancy are independently related to foetal weight.

08 Aug 2017

OBJECTIVE: Associations between maternal glucose levels and increased foetal growth are well established, and independent relationships with maternal weight, weight gain and insulin resistance are also observed. The relative roles of lipolysis and glucose production in the determination of these observations remain unclear. DESIGN: We examined, through detailed physiological studies, the relationship between maternal late gestational energy substrate production (glucose and glycerol), maternal weight and weight gain, and estimated foetal size in the third trimester. PATIENTS: Twenty-one nulliparous pregnant women, without gestational diabetes (GDM) assessed at 28 weeks with oral glucose tolerance test, were recruited. MEASUREMENTS: Rates of hepatic glucose production (GPR) and rates of glycerol production (reflecting lipolysis) using [(13) C6 ]-glucose and [(2) H5 ]-glycerol were measured at 34-36 weeks of gestation. Respiratory quotient was assessed by indirect calorimetry and body composition by measurements of total body water (TBW; H2(18) O) and body density (BODPOD). Foetal weight was estimated from ultrasound measures of biparietal diameter, femoral length and abdominal circumference. RESULTS: At 34-36 weeks, bivariate analyses showed that GPR and lipolysis correlated with estimated foetal weight (r=.71 and .72, respectively) as well as with maternal weight, fat mass and fat-free mass, but not maternal weight gain. In multivariate analyses, rates of both glucose production (r=.42) and lipolysis (r=.47) were independently associated with foetal size explaining 63% of the variance. CONCLUSIONS: Both maternal rates of lipolysis and hepatic glucose production in late gestation are strongly related to estimated foetal weight.