Updated 23 November 2016

Baby's gender may influence mom's diabetes risk

Your baby's gender could influence your diabetes risk as carrying sons is linked to gestational diabetes, while girls mean later risk of type 2- research shows.


A baby's gender appears to affect a mother's risk for diabetes during pregnancy - called gestational diabetes - and type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, a new study suggests.

Study variables

Researchers reviewed data from nearly 643,000 women in Canada. The women had their first child between 2000 and 2010.

Women who were carrying a son were more likely to develop gestational diabetes, the researchers said.

Read: Treating type 2 diabetes

The study was published May 20 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. While it found a link between a baby's gender and a mother's risk of diabetes, the study wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect.

"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," study author Dr. Baiju Shah, of the University of Toronto, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, said in a journal news release.

Male foetus leads to greater metabolic changes

"Our findings suggest a male foetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female foetus does," Shah added.

But, women who developed gestational diabetes while pregnant with a daughter had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

Read: Symptoms of diabetes

The researchers said this suggests these women had more serious underlying health issues that increased their susceptibility to gestational diabetes, and later to type 2 diabetes.

"Public health programs often focus on how a pregnant mother's health, behaviour and physiology can impact the health of her baby. 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," Shah said.

9% develop gestational diabetes

Up to 9 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, according to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Image: Diabetes pregnant woman from Shutterstock


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