Impact of maternal diet on neonatal anthropometry: a randomized controlled trial

Type Article

Journal Article


J. M. Donnelly; J. M. Walsh; J. Byrne; E. J. Molloy; F. M. McAuliffe

Year of publication



Pediatric obesity








Objective: Large for gestational age infants are at increased risk of childhood obesity and maternal nutrition impacts birthweight.The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a maternal low glycaemic index (GI) diet on neonatal anthropometry.Methods: The ROLO (Randomised Control Trial of Low Glycaemic Index Diet in Pregnancy) study was a randomized controlled trial to assess the impact of a low GI diet versus usual diet on birthweight.It took place in a tertiary maternity hospital in Ireland and women were randomized to receive either a low GI diet or no dietary intervention from early pregnancy to term.Two hundred sixty‐five neonates had anthropometric measurements on day 1‐2 of life, 126 in the intervention group and 139 in the control group.Measurements included birthweight, length and circumferences of the head, chest, abdominal, thigh and mid‐upper arm.A subgroup of 219 (82%) neonates also had skin‐fold measurements.Results: Neonates whose mothers had a low GI diet in pregnancy had lower thigh circumference (15.9 +/‐ 1.7 cm vs.16.6 +/‐ 1.5 cm, P = 0.04).There was no difference between the intervention and control groups in head, chest abdominal or mid‐upper arm circumferences.No difference was noted between the two groups for any skin‐fold measurements (subscapular, thigh, biceps and triceps).Conclusion: Neonatal thigh circumference was altered by maternal low GI diet in pregnancy.These findings suggest that maternal low GI diet is safe in pregnancy and may positively impact infant adiposity.