Mothers expecting sons more likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy

by Barbara Hewitt on May 22, 2015

A four year study of hundreds of thousands of pregnant women has found those expecting boys are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes, also known as hyperglycaemia often happened close to the date of birth and is a result of less insulin from pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction.


A new study says mothers expecting sons run a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes

Lead author of the study, Dr. Baiju Shah of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre at the University of Toronto, Canada, said that the findings suggest a male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.

He explained that gestational diabetes is thought to occur because of a combination of underlying metabolic abnormalities in the mother and temporary metabolic changes that take place during pregnancy.

‘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,’ he said.

He added that the sex of the baby and the woman’s glucose tolerance status in pregnancy can together provide insight into a woman’s diabetic risk after delivery and in a subsequent pregnancy.

The study looked at the insurance records of nearly 643,000 women who delivered their first child between April 2000 and March 2010 in Ontario.

The researchers also found that when the condition developed during a female pregnancy, the mothers went on to show a greater risk of type 2 diabetes after the pregnancy.

Dr. Shah suggests that these women had a greater underlying metabolic susceptibility to gestational diabetes even without the added impact suggested by the study of a developing male foetus.

The study is not the first but it is the largest to find a link with foetal sex for pregnancy related diabetes, the authors pointed out.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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