Background: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are essential for offspring development, but it is less clear
whether pregnancy PUFA status affects growth and adiposity.
Methods: In 985 mother-offspring pairs from the ongoing Singaporean GUSTO cohort, we analyzed the associations between offspring growth and adiposity outcomes until age 5 years and five PUFAs of interest, measured in maternal plasma at 26–28 weeks’ gestation: linoleic acid (LA), arachidonic acid, α-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We measured fetal growth by ultrasound (n=924), neonatal body composition (air displacement plethysmography (n=252 at birth, and n=317 at age 10 days), and abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (n=317)), postnatal growth (n=979) and skinfold thicknesses (n=981). Results were presented as regression coefficients for a 5% increase in PUFA levels.
Results: LA levels were positively associated with birthweight (β (95% CI): 0.04 (0.01, 0.08) kg), body mass
index (0.13 (0.02, 0.25) kg/m2), head circumference (0.11 (0.03, 0.19) cm), and neonatal abdominal adipose
tissue volume (4.6 (1.3, 7.8) mL for superficial subcutanous tissue, and 1.2 (0.1, 2.4) mL for internal tissue), but not with later outcomes. DHA levels, although not associated with birth outcomes, were related to higher postnatal length/height: 0.63 (0.09, 1.16) cm at 12 months and 1.29 (0.34, 2.24) cm at 5 years.
Conclusions: LA was positively associated with neonatal body size, and DHA with child height. Maternal PUFA
status during pregnancy may influence fetal and child growth and adiposity.