Gender of Baby Can Affect Mother's Diabetes Risk

Moms who give birth to sons are more likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy, according to a new study published by the Endocrine Society.

Gestational diabetes (GD) may affect as many as 9 percent of pregnant women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Developing the condition also puts women at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

"It is thought that gestational diabetes occurs because of a combination of underlying metabolic abnormalities in the mother and temporary metabolic changes that take place during pregnancy," said study co-author Dr. Baiju R. Shah. "Our findings suggest a male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does."

Predicting risks

Despite the fact that women who birth boys are more likely to have GD, researchers found that women who developed GD while pregnant with daughters had a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

According to the CDC, babies born to moms with gestational diabetes can be more prone to breathing problems, high birth weight and type 2 diabetes later in life.

"Public health programs often focus on how a pregnant mother's health, behavior and physiology can impact the health of her baby," Shah said. "This study, however, suggests that the baby can help us better understand the health of the mother, and can help us predict her risks for future diseases."

Source: Endocrine Society, CDC

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