Metabolic signatures of gestational weight gain and postpartum weight loss in a lifestyle intervention study of overweight and obese women

Chung Ho E. Lau*, Victoria Taylor-Bateman, Panagiotis A. Vorkas, Gonçalo Graça, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Lifang Hou, Elena Chekmeneva, Timothy M.D. Ebbels, Queenie Chan, Linda Van Horn, Elaine Holmes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Overweight and obesity amongst women of reproductive age are increasingly common in developed economies and are shown to adversely affect birth outcomes and both childhood and adulthood health risks in the offspring. Metabolic profiling in conditions of overweight and obesity in pregnancy could potentially be applied to elucidate the molecular basis of the adverse effects of gestational weight gain (GWG) and postpartum weight loss (WL) on future risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other chronic diseases. Methods: Biofluid samples were collected from 114 ethnically diverse pregnant women with body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 40 kg/m2 from Chicago (US), as part of a randomized lifestyle intervention trial (Maternal Offspring Metabolics: Family Intervention Trial; NCT01631747). At 15 weeks, 35 weeks of gestation, and at 1 year postpartum, the blood plasma lipidome and metabolic profile of urine samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and1 H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1 H NMR) respectively. Results: Urinary 4-deoxyerythronic acid and 4-deoxythreonic acid were found to be positively correlated to BMI. Seventeen plasma lipids were found to be associated with GWG and 16 lipids were found to be associated with WL, which included phosphatidylinositols (PI), phosphatidylcholines (PC), lysophospholipids (lyso-), sphingomyelins (SM) and ether phosphatidylcholine (PC-O). Three phospholipids found to be positively associated with GWG all contained palmitate side-chains, and amongst the 14 lipids that were negatively associated with GWG, seven were PC-O. Six of eight lipids found to be negatively associated with WL contained an 18:2 fatty acid side-chain. Conclusions: Maternal obesity was associated with characteristic urine and plasma metabolic phenotypes, and phospholipid profile was found to be associated with both GWG and postpartum WL in metabolically healthy pregnant women with overweight/obesity. Postpartum WL may be linked to the reduction in the intake of linoleic acid/conjugated linoleic acid food sources in our study population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number498
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Blood lipids
  • Gestational weight gain
  • LC-MS
  • Lifestyle intervention
  • Metabolic phenotyping
  • Metabolomics
  • NMR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolic signatures of gestational weight gain and postpartum weight loss in a lifestyle intervention study of overweight and obese women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this