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INTRODUCTION: Pregnancy is characterised by a high rate of metabolic shifts from early to late phases of gestation in order to meet the raised physiological and metabolic needs. This change in levels of metabolites is influenced by gestational weight gain (GWG), which is an important characteristic of healthy pregnancy. Inadequate/excessive GWG has short-term and long-term implications on maternal and child health. Exploration of gestational metabolism is required for understanding the quantitative changes in metabolite levels during the course of pregnancy. Therefore, our aim is to study trimester-specific variation in levels of metabolites in relation to GWG and its influence on fetal growth and newborn anthropometric traits at birth. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A prospective longitudinal study is planned (start date: February 2018; end date: March 2023) on pregnant women that are being recruited in the first trimester and followed in subsequent trimesters and at the time of delivery (total 3 follow-ups). The study is being conducted in a hospital located in Bikaner district (66% rural population), Rajasthan, India. The estimated sample size is of 1000 mother-offspring pairs. Information on gynaecological and obstetric history, socioeconomic position, diet, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, depression, anthropometric measurements and blood samples is being collected for metabolic assays in each trimester using standardised methods. Mixed effects regression models will be used to assess the role of gestational weight in influencing metabolite levels in each trimester. The association of maternal levels of metabolites with fetal growth, offspring's weight and body composition at birth will be investigated using regression modelling. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has been approved by the ethics committees of the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi and Sardar Patel Medical College, Rajasthan. We are taking written informed consent after discussing the various aspects of the study with the participants in the local language.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





birth cohort, epidemiology and developmental origin, foetal growth, india, metabolomics in pregnancy