Maternal diabetes mellitus and timing of pubertal development in daughters and sons: a nationwide cohort study

Gestational diabetes may accelerate pubertal development in daughters. The potential effects of pregestational diabetes on daughters’ puberty and any type of diabetes on sons’ puberty remain uncertain.

Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 35–44


Lea L.B. Lauridsen, B.Sc., Linn H. Arendt, M.D., Andreas Ernst, M.D., Nis Brix, M.D., Erik T. Parner, Ph.D., Jørn Olsen, Ph.D., Cecilia H. Ramlau-Hansen, Ph.D.



To study the association between maternal diabetes and timing of pubertal development in daughters and sons.


Prospective cohort study.


Not applicable.


A total of 15,822 mother-child pairs included in the Danish National Birth Cohort and the Puberty Cohort with prospectively collected, register-based and self-reported information on maternal diabetes and self-reported information on pubertal development.



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Adjusted mean monthly difference in age at attaining pubertal milestones in children born of mothers with diabetes compared with children born of mothers without diabetes.


A total of 502 children were born of mothers with diabetes during pregnancy. In daughters exposed to gestational diabetes mellitus, we observed advanced onset in all pubertal milestones. The associations were statistically significant with regard to pubic hair Tanner stage 2 (−4.8 months) (95% confidence interval [CI] −7.7, −2.0), pubic hair Tanner stage 3 (−2.2 months) (95 % CI −4.4, 0.0), pubic hair Tanner stage 5 (−6.0 months) (95% CI −10.8, −1.2), and menarche (−2.5 months) (95 % CI −4.9, 0.0). We observed no tendencies between maternal type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus and pubertal development in daughters. We observed no associations between maternal diabetes and pubertal development in sons.


Our findings suggest that gestational diabetes mellitus may accelerate the pubertal development in daughters. Our results did not support an association between type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus and daughters' pubertal development, as well as between any type of maternal diabetes and sons’ pubertal development.


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