Changes in gut microbiota in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)

Monday, Jan 21, 2019

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a common pregnancy complication worldwide and a recent study has examined its relationship with gut microbiota profile.


Ferrocino I, Ponzo V, Gambino R, Zarovska A, Leone F, Monzeglio C, Goitre I, Rosato R, Romano A, Grassi G, Broglio F, Cassader M, Cocolin L, Bo S. Changes in the gut microbiota composition during pregnancy in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):12216.
Link to the full article:

Other online article that you might be interested in:

WNSC Hong Kong Bulletin 2018 Issue 1 - A new landscape of gestational diabetes mellitus


  • It has been proposed that beneficial influences of lifestyle interventions on GDM might be due to the alternation of maternal microbiota during pregnancy
  • This study aimed to elucidate,
    • Variations in microbiota profile in GDM women during pregnancy
    • Associations between these variations and differences in nutrient intake, anthropometric and laboratory parameters


Study Design

  • A prospective observational explorative study 



  • 50 GDM women it Italy,
    • 9 women were lost at follow-up
    • Most were overweight women with excessive fat consumption and less than recommended fiber intake


  • At 24 - 28 weeks of gestation (enrollment, time of GDM diagnosis) and 38 weeks/before delivery (end of study), the below information was collected,
    • Questionnaires
    • Anthropometric values
    • Fasting blood samples
    • Stool samples
  • Fecal microbiota was evaluated by 16S amplicon-based sequencing


Key Findings

  • 14 out of 41 women (34.1%) declared that they followed the given dietary guidelines
    • Adhered women had lower consumption of sugars and higher intake of fiber, oligosaccharides, polyunsaturated fatty acids versus non-adherents
    • Adhered women showed a better metabolic and inflammatory pattern
  • A shift in the microbiota profile was noted from the second to the third trimester,
    • Higher α-diversity
    • Increase in Firmicutes
    • Decrease in Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria
  • Specific shift in microbiota was observed in adherents and non-adherents at end of study,
    • Decrease in Bacteroides in adherents
    • Increased abundance of Faecalibacterium and L-Ruminococcus as well as minor Operational Taxonomic Units in non-adherents
  • Associations between specific bacterial quantity and dietary/laboratory parameters were recorded,
    • Faecalibacterium was related to fasting glucose
    • Collinsella (directly) and Blautia (inversely) were associated with insulin and with Homeostasis-Model Assessment Insulin-Resistance
    • Sutterella was associated with levels of C-reactive protein



  • It is suggested that interfering the gut microbiota might be a potential approach to influence maternal metabolic health


Latest Articles

Academic Activities

Scientific symposium – Critical connectivity: Assessing and supporting the development of brain and behaviour


  • Dr Henry Au Yeung Cheuk-lun (Hong Kong)
  • Professor Weili Lin (USA)
  • Dr Daniel Chiu Cheung-shing (Hong Kong)
  • Dr Fanny Lam Wai-fan (Hong Kong)

The 28th International Congress of Pediatrics (IPA) (NEW!)

17-22 August 2016, Vancouver, Canada

Science Updates

Deciphering the antibacterial properties of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) (NEW!)

The authors have identified several HMOs with potent antimicrobial activity against the pathogen Group B Steptococcus, and uncovered the mechanism of action of HMO antimicrobial activity such as by increasing bacterial cell permeability.


Picky Eating eBook

Practical tips to overcome picky eating behaviours by Kate Di Prima, an accredited practicing dietitian specializing in Paediatrics and a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. 

Growth Charts

The WHO Child Growth Standards were developed using data collected in the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS)1.