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Open Access Research article

Maternal and neonatal risk factors for childhood type 1 diabetes: a matched case-control study

Lynn Robertson1* and Kirsten Harrild2

Author Affiliations

1 NHS Grampian, Summerfield House, 2 Eday Road, Aberdeen, AB15 6RE, UK

2 University of Aberdeen, Medical Statistics Team, Section of Population Health, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, UK

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BMC Public Health 2010, 10:281  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-281

Published: 27 May 2010



An interaction between genetic susceptibility and environmental factors is thought to be involved in the aetiology of type 1 diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate maternal and neonatal risk factors for type 1 diabetes in children under 15 years old in Grampian, Scotland.


A matched case-control study was conducted by record linkage. Cases (n = 361) were children born in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital from 1972 to 2002, inclusive, who developed type 1 diabetes, identified from the Scottish Study Group for the Care of Diabetes in the Young Register. Controls (n = 1083) were randomly selected from the Aberdeen Maternity Neonatal Databank, matched by year of birth. Exposure data were obtained from the Aberdeen Maternity Neonatal Databank. Conditional logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between various maternal and neonatal factors and the risk of type 1 diabetes.


There was no evidence of statistically significant associations between type 1 diabetes and maternal age, maternal body mass index, previous abortions, pre-eclampsia, amniocentesis, maternal deprivation, use of syntocinon, mode of delivery, antepartum haemorrhage, baby's sex, gestational age at birth, birth order, birth weight, jaundice, phototherapy, breast feeding, admission to neonatal unit and Apgar score (P > 0.05). A significantly decreased risk of type 1 diabetes was observed in children whose mothers smoked at the booking appointment compared to those whose mothers did not, with an adjusted OR of 0.67, 95% CI (0.46, 0.99).


This case-control study found limited evidence of a reduced risk of the development of type 1 diabetes in children whose mothers smoked, compared to children whose mothers did not. No evidence was found of a significant association between other maternal and neonatal factors and childhood type 1 diabetes.