Mothers who do not have diabetes but deliver a big babies, are at an increased risk of developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes later on in life, says a new study. Previous researches have established that gestational diabetes puts women at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
The new study, which was presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that 20 percent of women were diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes 10 to 14 years after giving birth. The frequency of diabetes was higher among people who had a large-for-gestational age (LGA) birth compared to those who had a small-for-gestational age (SGA) birth.
Moreover, LGA babies are more likely to be admitted to intensive care unit and develop health complications later in life, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers used data from the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) Follow-up Study. The HAPO examined glucose tolerance in a large multi-national, racially diverse cohort in their third trimester of pregnancy. It also looked into the association between gestational diabetes and the long-term health outcomes of pregnant women and their children.
Kartik K. Venkatesh, the lead author of the study and a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist, said that in clinical practice, they often see big babies and the individual doesn't have gestational diabetes. And they do not talk about the health consequences for the mother later in life.
"But this research suggests there may also be health consequences for the pregnant person even without gestational diabetes when they have a larger than normal sized infant," Venkatesh said. "That's why it's so important to follow large groups of people and their babies, regardless of whether they had gestational diabetes or not, over a long period of time."
The expert believes that doctors need to stop thinking of pregnancy care as episodic care by making these connections between pregnancy and long-term health outcomes in mothers and children.