To test the hypothesis that maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with poorer cognitive ability in children born to mothers with GDM compared to children born to non-GDM mothers in India.
During 1997-98 maternal GDM status was assessed at 30±2 weeks of gestation. Between 2007-2008, at a mean age of 9.7 years, 515 children (32-offspring of GDM mothers (ODM’s); 483-offspring of non-GDM mothers (controls)) from the Mysore Parthenon birth cohort underwent cognitive function assessment using tests from the Kaufman Assessment Battery for children-second edition and additional tests measuring learning, long-term storage/retrieval, short-term memory, reasoning, attention and concentration, visuo-spatial and verbal abilities.
Compared to controls, ODM’S scored higher in tests for learning, long-term retrieval/storage (p=0.008), reasoning (p=0.02), verbal ability (p=0.01) and attention and concentration (p=0.003). In multiple regression, adjusted for the child’s age, sex, gestation, neonatal weight and head circumference, maternal age, parity, BMI, parent’s socio-economic status, education and rural/urban residence, this difference remained significant only for learning, long-term retrieval/storage (β=0.4SD (95% CI: 0.01, 0.75); p=0.042) and verbal ability (β=0.5SD (95% CI: 0.09, 0.83); p=0.015) and not with other test scores.
In this population of healthy Indian children, there was no evidence of lower cognitive ability in ODM’s. In fact some cognitive scores were higher in ODM’s.