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August 22, 2006

Genetics and Heredity

Question from Madera, California, USA:

Does gestational diabetes put either the mother or child at a higher risk of developing diabetes?


The answer to that is yes and probably yes. The mother is definitely at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later on after the preganancy. In addition to having gestational diabetes with future pregnancies, the risk of having type 2 diabetes permanantly is very high. The development of gestational diabetes is like a looking glass into the future and does predict type 2 diabetes. The best way to handle this is to be aggressive with lifestyle choices by exercising, eating healthy, and keeping weight off after delivery. There is also a thought that babies born to moms with gestational diabetes are at risk for developing diabetes in adulthood. There may be some effect of maternal environment.

Additional comments from Dr. Bill Jones:

Mothers who develop gestational diabetes can have as high as a 30% chance of developing diabetes later in life. However, this can be reduced with proper diet (weight control) and exercise. The risk to the fetus is unpredictable. Babies of mothers with diabetes can be quite large if the diabetes was not controlled during the pregnancy. Childhood obesity can lead to diabetes later in life. Diabetes can run in families. However, there are many factors involved in the development of diabetes that it is difficult to predict a lifetime risk at birth.