Type of Diabetes in Pregnancy Impacts Risk for Child

A new study has shown that important differences exist in the diabetes risk of offspring based on the type of diabetes exposure in utero.

The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes before age 30 was greatest in the children of First Nations (indigenous) women with type 2 diabetes, shows research conducted in the province of Manitoba, Canada.

Having a First Nations mother with gestational diabetes conferred a smaller but still greatly increased risk of early onset type 2 diabetes compared with having a First Nations mother without diabetes.

Meanwhile children of non-First Nations women exposed to diabetes in utero had smaller increased risks of early onset type 2 diabetes, but again, risks were higher if their moms had type 2 diabetes.

Non-First Nations offspring were more likely to develop early onset type 2 diabetes in their teens or 20s — as opposed to as young as age 4 in the indigenous children — in this study by Brandy A. Wicklow, MD, and colleagues from the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

“These findings have implications for future research and clinical practice guidelines, including early pregnancy screening and follow-up of the offspring,” write the authors in the article published online June 11 in JAMA Pediatrics. 

Implications for Many Types of Clinicians

The results are important for many types of clinicians, including obstetricians, pediatricians, and clinicians who treat adolescents, Wicklow told Medscape Medical News.

Clinicians who treat adolescents need to stress the importance of glycemic control in female teens with type 2 diabetes (before they ever become pregnant) and inform them of the benefits of breastfeeding to lower the risk of diabetes in their children.

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