Study Suggests Gestational Diabetes in Mothers May Affect Weight in Daughters


Gestational Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This can be problematic both for the mother and her unborn child. A new study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California and published in the October 23 edition of Diabetes Care suggests that Gestational Diabetes in mothers may cause weight problems for their daughters later in life.

The research included more than 400 girls in California who were followed from 2005 to 2011, with annual visits to check their height, weight, body fat and abdominal obesity. The girls were between 6 and 8 years old at the start of the study. The researchers also examined the medical records of the girls’ mothers.

Of the 400 girls in the study, 27 of their mothers developed Gestational Diabetes. The study found that the 27 girls whose mothers developed Gestational Diabetes were 5.5 times more likely to become overweight as compared to the girls in the study whose mothers did not develop Gestational Diabetes. According to the researchers, these girls were also more likely to have higher amount of body fat and abdominal obesity. Ai Kubo, an epidemiologist and the lead researcher of the study also reported that the association between Gestational Diabetes and weight problems in daughters was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy.

This study only found an association between these factors and was not able to prove that these factors caused the girls to be overweight. However, these findings suggest that getting women to improve their lifestyles and control their weight before pregnancy may be beneficial to their unborn children, especially daughters.

If you are pregnant and are worried about developing Gestational Diabetes, talk to your OBGYN today. He or she can provide you with valuable information about lifestyle and diet changes you can make to reduce your risk for developing this serious yet treatable condition.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Carlos Alarcon, Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.