Women with Gestational Diabetes Increase the Chances for their Children to have Diabetes

Children whose mother had gestational diabetes during their pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women normally do not have a high sugar level in their daily lives but develop high sugar level within the span of pregnancy.

Manifestations for gestational diabetes include pre-eclampsia, depression and requiring a c-section. Not only this, but gestational diabetes also shows adverse effects on your child too. The excess level of glucose starts entering the body of the baby via the placenta.

The baby’s body starts giving a response and starts to synthesize more insulin, the pancreas gets active as a result of which the baby also results in a large size. Obesity is another health hazard that can lead to complications during delivery. The baby could be born with low blood sugar, yellowish skin, and eyes (jaundice), breathing trouble, and other problems.

Here are some questions which you should ask yourself as this is the list of symptoms that indicate the onset of this disease:

• Are you overweight?
• Do you have any relation with anyone who has or had diabetes?
• Do you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or another health condition linked to problems with insulin?
• Have you ever had problems with insulin or blood sugar, such as insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, or “prediabetes”?
• Do you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease?

In a previous pregnancy, did you have any of the following:

• Gestational diabetes
• Stillbirth or miscarriage
• Large baby (weighing more than 9 pounds)

Early detection of diabetes is important in children and youth, as many — about one-quarter — are diagnosed when seeking care for diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

“Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes in parents are well-established risk factors for diabetes, we show that gestational diabetes mellitus may be a risk indicator for diabetes in the mother’s children before age 22,” says Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, a clinician-scientist from the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

The study of 73 180 mothers compared data on randomly selected single births from mothers with gestational diabetes to births from mothers without gestational diabetes.

The incidence (the number of new cases) of diabetes per 10,000 person-years was 4.5 in children born to mothers with gestational diabetes and 2.4 in mothers without. A child or teen whose mother had gestational diabetes was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes before the age of 22 years. The association was found in children from birth to age 22 years, from birth to 12 years, and from 12 to 22 years.

“This link of diabetes in children and youth with gestational diabetes in the mother has the potential to stimulate clinicians, parents, and children and youth themselves to consider the possibility of diabetes if offspring of a mother with gestational diabetes mellitus develop signs and symptoms such as frequent urination, abnormal thirst, weight loss or fatigue,” says Dr. Dasgupta.

There are a number of ways by which we can reduce the sugar level in our blood. Few of the steps are listed below:

• Pay attention to portion size
• Include daily fruits and green vegetables
• Less than half of the calories should be carbohydrates
• Try to avoid processed food
• Do yoga to burn extra calories

In most of the cases, women who have gestational diabetes tend to have normal blood sugars after the delivery. When they get sugar levels to test done after a period of 6 to 12 weeks of delivery most of the women get appropriate reports. On the other hand, unfortunately, later these are the women who develop type 2 diabetes in their later lives.

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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