Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Maternal polycystic ovarian syndrome and offspring growth: the Upstate KIDS Study
  1. Griffith A Bell1,
  2. Rajeshwari Sundaram1,
  3. Sunni L Mumford1,
  4. Hyojun Park1,
  5. Miranda Broadney1,
  6. James L Mills1,
  7. Erin M Bell2,
  8. Edwina H Yeung1
  1. 1 Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  2. 2 Department of Environmental Health Services, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Edwina H Yeung, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda MD 20817, USA; edwina.yeung{at}


Background Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of female infertility and is associated with higher levels of circulating androgens. Exposure to higher levels of androgens in utero may be a risk factor for obesity among children of women with PCOS.

Methods We examined whether maternal PCOS was associated with differences in offspring growth and obesity in the Upstate KIDS study, a prospective cohort study of infants born in New York State (excluding New York City) oversampled for fertility treatments and multiple births. Measurements of offspring length/height and weight were recorded at doctor’s visits through 3 years of age. PCOS diagnosis was self-reported by mothers at baseline. We used linear mixed models with robust SEs to estimate differences in growth by maternal PCOS exposure. We used logistic regression to examine whether infants experienced rapid weight gain at 4, 9 and 12 months. Growth measures were reported by 4098 mothers for 4949 children (1745 twins). Of these, 435 mothers (10.6%) had a diagnosis of PCOS.

Results Compared with children born to mothers without PCOS, children of mothers with PCOS did not have significant differences in weight (4.81 g, 95% CI −95.1 to 104.7), length/height (0.18 cm, 95% CI −0.16 to 0.52) and body mass index (−0.14 kg/m2, 95% CI −0.30 to 0.01) through 3 years of age. We also observed no association between maternal PCOS and offspring rapid weight gain.

Conclusions Overall, we found little evidence to suggest that maternal PCOS influences early childhood growth in this large, prospective cohort study.

  • fertility
  • reproductive health
  • growth

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors GAB conceptualised and designed the study, carried out the initial analyses, drafted the initial manuscript, and reviewed and revised the manuscript. SLM, MB, HP and JM conceptualised and designed the study, made substantial contributions to analysis and interpretation of data, and critically revised the manuscript. EMB, EHY and RS collected data, designed the data collection instruments, coordinated and supervised data collection, and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding Supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; contract nos. HHSN275201200005C, HHSN267200700019C).

  • Disclaimer The funders played no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis or interpretation, writing of the manuscript or the decision to submit the article for publication. All individuals listed as authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval All research on human subjects have been approved by the appropriate ethics committee and conformed to the principles embodied in the Declaration of Helsinki.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.