Mothers with elevated blood glucose during pregnancy--even if not high enough to meet the traditional definition of gestational diabetes --are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes a decade after pregnancy than their counterparts without high blood glucose.
The results are part of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Funded primarily by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes-Follow-up Study (or HAPO-FUS) tracked mothers and their children 10-14 years after birth.
For children born to mothers with elevated or normal glucose, researchers found no statistically significant difference between the two groups of children in terms of their combined overweight and obesity, the study's primary outcome. However, when obesity was measured alone, children of mothers with elevated blood glucose were significantly more likely to be obese.
The original HAPO study found that even modestly elevated blood glucose levels increased the risks of complications for the baby both before and shortly after birth. Based on these results, many, but not all, organizations adopted a new definition of gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.
HAPO-FUS compared the longterm effects of blood glucose levels in mothers who would have met the new definition of gestational diabetes with those who did not. Researchers aimed to learn if modest increases in blood glucose increased the mother's risk of developing type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and the risk of obesity in the mother's offspring at least a decade after giving birth.
The study found the harms of even modestly elevated blood glucose for both mother and child extend more than a decade. Among women with elevated blood glucose during pregnancy, nearly 11% had type 2 diabetes at the follow-up study visit 10-14 years after childbirth and about 42% had prediabetes. Of their counterparts who did not...