Diabetes during pregnancy doubles risk of disease in children  

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Children of mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing diabetes before the age of 22 years

Children of mothers who had gestational diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves. This is the conclusion of new research published in CMAJ, the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. India has the highest number of diabetics in the world but there are very few studies which looked at the burden of gestational diabetes (GDM) in India.

According to a published systematic review and meta-analysis, GDM prevalence in India ranged from as low as 0.6% to as high as 27.3% in 2016. The pooled estimate of the GDM prevalence among Indian women was 9.3%.

It is important to detect diabetes early in children and youth, as about one-quarter of cases are diagnosed while seeking treatment for diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes.

It is important to detect diabetes early in children and youth, as about one-quarter of cases are diagnosed while seeking treatment 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,” said 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 included 73180 mothers. Data on randomly selected single births from mothers with gestational diabetes was compared to births from mothers without gestational diabetes.

Results showed that the number of new cases of diabetes per 10000 person-years was 4.5 in children born to mothers with gestational diabetes and 2.4 in mothers without the disease. 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,” said Dr. Dasgupta.