15 April 2019

Maternal gestational diabetes link to children

Diabetes Research

Children and young people who have mothers who had gestational diabetes mellitus while pregnant are at a great risk of developing diabetes themselves, Canadian research shows.

A study of more than 70,000 Canadian mothers compared data on randomly selected single births from mothers with gestational diabetes to births from mothers without the condition.

A child or teen whose mother had gestational diabetes was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes, the researchers found.

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.

The association should prompt clinicians to consider the possibility of diabetes in such offspring should they develop signs and symptoms such as polyuria, polydipsia, weight loss or fatigue, the authors said.

“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,” Dr Kaberi Dasgupta, from the McGill University Health Centre, said.

The increased risk was found consistently in children from birth to 22 years, birth to 12 years and 12 years to 22 years of age.

The researchers said further studies were needed to examine longer-term outcomes in patients with paediatric diabetes with a history of maternal gestational diabetes to ascertain how they compared in terms of severity and outcomes to others with child or youth-onset diabetes.    

CMAJ; online 15 April