Background: The predisposition for obesity is suggested to originate in the prenatal period. Prenatal markers are needed to identify foetuses at risk for neonatal adiposity, as early marker of childhood obesity. Objective: The aim of this study is to assess the association between foetal fractional thigh volume (TVol) and neonatal percentage fat mass from mid-gestation onward. Methods: In this perinatal cohort study, singleton pregnancies with term born infants were included. Foetal TVol was measured on three-dimensional ultrasound scans (3D US) obtained at 22, 26 and 32 weeks of gestation. Neonatal body composition measurement (percentage body fat (%BF)) was planned between 42+0 and 42+6-week postmenstrual age. Cross-sectional and longitudinal linear regression analyses were performed. Results: Seventy-nine mother-child pairs were included. Median (interquartile range) TVol increased from 7.6 (7.1; 8.5) cm3 at 22 weeks to 36.5 (33.8; 40.9) cm3 at 32 weeks. Median neonatal %BF was 14.3% (11.7; 17.0). TVol at 22 weeks (β = -1.58, 95% CI -2.45; -0.70, explained variance 31%) was negatively associated with %BF, but no associations were found at 26 and 32 weeks of gestation. TVol growth between 22 and 32 weeks of gestation (explained variance 18%) was also statistically significantly negatively associated with %BF. Conclusions: Foetal TVol is a promising 3D US marker for prediction of neonatal adiposity from mid-gestation onward.

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Pediatric Obesity
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Roelants, J., Vermeulen, M., Koning, I., Groenenberg, I., Willemsen, S., Hokken-Koelega, A., … Steegers-Theunissen, R. (2017). Foetal fractional thigh volume: An early 3D ultrasound marker of neonatal adiposity. Pediatric Obesity. doi:10.1111/ijpo.12231