CHICAGO, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- A study of Northwestern Medicine found the 10-to-14-year-old children of women who had untreated gestational diabetes are more likely to have pre-diabetes and obesity than children whose mothers did not have higher blood sugar.
The large international Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Follow-Up Study (HAPO FUS) included 4,160 children aged 10 to 14 years who completed all or part of an oral glucose tolerance test and whose mothers had gestational diabetes at 28 weeks of pregnancy.
"Our study shows that independent of a mother's weight or genetic predisposition to diabetes, a mother's blood sugar level during pregnancy independently adds to the risk of both obesity and glucose intolerance in her child," said lead researcher Boyd Metzger, professor emeritus of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"The mother's glucose metabolism during her pregnancy affects her child's glucose metabolism," Metzger said. "The fact that these conditions in the child at 11 years of age are related to the mom's glucose level in her pregnancy is an additional reason gestational diabetes should be identified and treated," Metzger added.
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman without diabetes develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It increases the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, Caesarean section and stillbirth. Up to 20 percent of women develop gestational diabetes, namely high blood sugar, during pregnancy.
The study was published on Jan. 17 in the journal Diabetes Care.