If I Had Diabetes During Pregnancy, Am I At An Increased Risk Of Developing Diabetes Later On? What About My Baby?

Question:If I had diabetes during pregnancy, am I at an increased risk of developing diabetes later on? What about my baby?

Answer:For women who have diabetes during pregnancy, have an elevated glucose during pregnancy which often goes away, never to return or not to return until the next pregnancy. But such women are at an increased risk of developing permanent diabetes, either soon after the pregnancy but more often some years later. And that increased risk of developing diabetes is directly proportional to how much weight you gain after the pregnancy or how much weight you retain after the pregnancy, so this is something where weight control would be especially important, because if you have what we call gestational diabetes, diabetes with a pregnancy, then you are at an increased risk of getting diabetes later; it might be 20 or 30 years later, but it is an increased risk.

Now, the new information about the babies of women who have diabetes while they're pregnant, is that those babies are also at an increased risk of diabetes, usually not as babies, but sometime later in older childhood or youth or young adult life, those children are in a higher risk of also having type 2 non-insulin-dependent diabetes. And we don't entirely understand that, but we think it's because the baby who is inside a mother with diabetes, is getting exposed to a lot of insulin, because the mother has high insulin, not because she's being treated with it, although she is, but because that's a characteristic of the normal insulin levels in people who have diabetes. And that may somehow stimulate the baby to want to grow, and to be sensitive to normal insulin levels -- would be normal for people who hadn't had that experience, when they grow up out of the uterus. So it's like they have become insulin-dependent while they're in the uterus, and they're more likely to be sensitive afterwards. That's not very clearly explained, I'm sure, because it's very difficult to explain, and we don't understand it all, but there is no question, that there is an increased risk not only of diabetes, but perhaps easier to detect and to manage increased risk of overweight.<

Next: What Is 'Metabolic Syndrome,' How Is It Related To Diabetes, And How Should It Be Treated?


Previous: Does My Ethnicity Affect My Risk of Developing Diabetes?