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From Yorba Linda, California, USA:

What are the long term effects to a baby whose mother had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy? I've heard there can be heart problems, or other organ deformities, as well as chemical imbalance problems. Please be specific as to what long term effects may be possible or likely. What is there to look for in the future, even if everything looks normal at birth, and baby is at normal birth weight? This is for a second pregnancy in which the recommended diet and exercise plan may not have been adhered to strictly. There is a lot of information on the long term effects on mothers, but nothing specific on the babies.


Most of the risks to babies are a result of poorly controlled diabetes. Gestational diabetes does not carry the same risk of defects as type 1 diabetes since problems with glucose control occur after embryogenesis. Short term problems such as in the newborn period can be hypoglycemia, excessive red blood cell production and electrolyte disturbances. These are usually temporary and the baby adjusts its insulin production to compensate for the hypoglycemia. Sometimes babies have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlarged, poorly contracting heart). The exact cause is not known, but is associated with excessive insulin production by the baby. Usually this condition gradually resolves over weeks to months. Obese babies are at risk for health problems in the future, but there are so many other factors involved over a lifetime that prediction is difficult. Within families, there may be a predisposition to develop diabetes later in life. Whether or not this happens can be due to many factors largely centered around diet and activity.


Original posting 20 Aug 2004
Posted to Gestational Diabetes and Other


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:58
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