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August 22, 1999

Family Planning

Question from Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA:

Are there any special risks to a child born after the mother has developed adult onset diabetes? I'm 27 and just found out that my mother developed diabetes a year or so before I was born (not years after as I had thought). She hasn't taken care of it, and I assume this was the case during her pregnancy with me. Should I be worried?



Additional Comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

From the limited information you’ve supplied, the risks to either you or to your own children when your mother (children’s grandmother) has Type 2 diabetes are not very well known. In general, the genetic risks are present and most often related to obesity plus type 2 diabetes for any relatives. The grandchildren’s risks would rise if you also developed diabetes as an adult and presumably also had type 2 diabetes like your mother. Nonspecific risks include obesity, hypertension, high blood lipid levels, hairiness (hirsutism) and a darkening of certain parts of the skin called acanthosis nigricans. General risks of type 2 diabetes are also being from Black, Asian, Native American or Latino families although Caucasians who are obese area also at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Your exposure during your mother’s pregnancy probably does not give you or your own children added specific risk except for the general genetic risk you inherit from your mom.