Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus is associated with accelerated fetal growth in singleton pregnancies but may affect twin pregnancies differently because of the slower growth of twin fetuses during the third trimester of pregnancy and their greater predisposition to fetal growth restriction. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the association of gestational diabetes mellitus with longitudinal fetal growth in twin pregnancies and to compare this association with that observed in singleton pregnancies. Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study of all women with a singleton or twin pregnancy who were followed up at a single tertiary referral center between January 2011 and April 2020. Data on estimated fetal weight and individual fetal biometric indices were extracted from ultrasound examinations of eligible women. Generalized linear models were used to model and compare the change in fetal weight and individual biometric indices as a function of gestational age between women with and without gestational diabetes mellitus in twin pregnancies and between women with and without gestational diabetes mellitus in singleton pregnancies. The primary outcome was estimated fetal weight as a function of gestational age. The secondary outcomes were longitudinal growth of individual fetal biometric indices and the rate of small for gestational age and large for gestational age at birth. Results: A total of 26,651 women (94,437 ultrasound examinations) were included in the analysis: 1881 with a twin pregnancy and 24,770 with a singleton pregnancy. The rate of gestational diabetes mellitus in the twin and singleton groups was 9.6% (n=180) and 7.6% (n=1893), respectively. The estimated fetal weight in singleton pregnancies with gestational diabetes mellitus was significantly higher than that in pregnancies without gestational diabetes mellitus (P<.001) starting at approximately 30 weeks of gestation. The differences remained similar after adjusting for maternal age, chronic hypertension, nulliparity, and neonatal sex (P<.001). In twin pregnancies, fetal growth was similar between pregnancies with and without gestational diabetes mellitus (P=.105 and P=.483 for unadjusted and adjusted models, respectively). The findings were similar to the association of gestational diabetes mellitus with the risk of large for gestational fetuses and the growth of each biometric index. When stratified by type of gestational diabetes mellitus treatment, twin pregnancies with gestational diabetes mellitus was associated with accelerated fetal growth only in the subgroup of women with medically treated gestational diabetes mellitus (P<.001), which represented 12% (n=21) of the twin pregnancy group with gestational diabetes mellitus. Conclusion: In contrast to singleton pregnancies, twin pregnancies with gestational diabetes mellitus is less likely to be associated with accelerated fetal growth. This finding has raised the question of whether the diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes mellitus and the blood glucose targets in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus should be individualized for twin pregnancies.
- gestational diabetes mellitus
- large for gestational age
- multifetal pregnancy
- twin pregnancy