BACKGROUND: Nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) play pathophysiological roles in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (T2D). In this study, we analyzed the fasting NEFA profiles of normoglycemic individuals at risk for T2D (women with a recent history of gestational diabetes (GDM)) in comparison to controls (women after a normoglycemic pregnancy). We also examined the associations of NEFA species with overweight/obesity, body fat distribution and insulin sensitivity. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Using LC-MS/MS, we analyzed 41 NEFA species in the fasting sera of 111 women (62 post-GDM, 49 controls). Clinical characterization included a five-point oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), biomarkers and anthropometrics, magnetic resonance imaging (n = 62) and a food frequency questionnaire. Nonparametric tests with Bonferroni correction, binary logistic regression analyses and rank correlations were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: Women after GDM had a lower molar percentage of total saturated fatty acids (SFA; 38.55% vs. 40.32%, p = 0.0002) than controls. At an explorative level of significance several NEFA species were associated with post-GDM status (with and without adjustment for body mass index (BMI) and HbA1c): The molar percentages of 14:0, 16:0, 18:0 and 18:4 were reduced, whereas those of 18:1, 18:2, 20:2, 24:4, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and total n-6 NEFA were increased. BMI and the amount of body fat correlated inversely with several SFA and MUFA and positively with various PUFA species over the whole study cohort (abs(ρ)≥0.3 for all). 14:0 was inversely and BMI-independently associated with abdominal visceral adiposity. We saw no correlations of NEFA species with insulin sensitivity and the total NEFA concentration was similar in the post-GDM and the control group. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we found alterations in the fasting NEFA profile associated with a recent history of gestational diabetes, a risk marker for T2D. NEFA composition also varied with overweight/obesity and with body fat distribution, but not with insulin sensitivity.