A mother’s health during pregnancy can have a lasting impact on both her health and that of her child.
A new NIH study found that pregnant women with higher than normal blood glucose (blood sugar) are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. This was found even in moms who hadn’t been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).
Also, children of mothers with higher than normal blood glucose during pregnancy were more likely to be obese.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body stops using or producing insulin well. It is preventable, unlike type 1 diabetes, which people develop when their bodies’ immune systems attack the cells that make insulin.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases led funding of the study, which checked in with mothers and their children 10 to 14 years after birth. The study is a follow-up to one conducted during the same mothers’ pregnancies and shortly after birth.
Among the women with higher than normal blood glucose during pregnancy, nearly 11 percent had type 2 diabetes at the follow-up study visit. Forty two percent had prediabetes, which means blood glucose levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
In comparison, among those without higher than normal blood glucose during pregnancy, about 2 percent had type 2 diabetes and about 18 percent had prediabetes.
What can pregnant moms do? Three things:
- Stay active
- Maintain healthy blood pressure
- Eat healthy foods
By doing these three things, moms can help lower their risk of developing higher than normal blood glucose during pregnancy and type 2 diabetes afterward.
Additional support was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.