German Study of gestational diabetes (PREG Study)

Gestational diabetes (GDM) defined as any degree of glucose intolerance first diagnosed during pregnancy. It is one of the major pregnancy complications and untreated it leads to fetal overgrowth, macrosomic newborns and related birth complications. The mother has a very high risk for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life. The offspring is at high risk for obesity and impaired glucose tolerance or even diabetes starting already in early childhood. Even if GDM is detected and successfully treated the fetus has been exposed to elevated glucose levels for the first months of pregnancy. A long-term impact on the health of mother and child is likely. To elucidate the impact of treated GDM on mother and child the PREG study has been initiated. The study is a multicenter prospective cohort study conducted in six sites of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), with the lead center being Tübingen.  


With the study we pursue two main objectives

  • Investigation of gestational diabetes as risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus of the mother.
  • Impact of maternal metabolic disturbances during pregnancy on the health and development of the offspring. In all study sites women are examined during pregnancy and repeatedly up to 10 years after delivery. Birth outcome as well as offspring anthropometric data are collected. Cord blood and placenta is collected and an offspring cohort is followed up at the Tübingen site.

During pregnancy as well as 1, 2, 5 and 10 years after delivery women are examined with a 5 point oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) with 75 g of glucose. Whole body MRI and MRS measurements are applied to assess the volume of different fat compartments and liver fat in non pregnang women. Furthermore, fitness is measured with spiroergometry. Two, six, 13 and 17 years after delivery the offspring is followed up with developmental tests and fasted blood sampling.The study started in 2012, 400 pregnant women have been recruited and 118 children have been examined. The PREG study is cooperating with the fMEG-OGTT study and this allows the examination of the offsprings brain development even before delivery.

Project supervisor

Prof. Dr. Andreas Fritsche

Study registration


Project-related publications

Stirm L, Huypens P, Sass S, et al (2018) Maternal whole blood cell miRNA-340 is elevated in gestational diabetes and inversely regulated by glucose and insulin. Sci Rep 8(1):1366.

Stirm L, Kovárová M, Perschbacher S, et al (2018) BMI-Independent Effects of Gestational Diabetes on Human Placenta. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 103(9):3299–3309.

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