A recent article in a well respected journal says, yes, being pregnant with either a boy or girl could increase your risks for developing diabetes during pregnancy or years later.
According to an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a group of researchers reviewed information from over 60,000 Canadian pregnant women and discovered that women who had sons developed diabetes during pregnancy (aka gestational diabetes) but women who had daughters developed Type 2 diabetes later in life. The study was quick to note that having a son or daughter does not cause a woman to have diabetes but there is clearly an association. The women who developed diabetes later in life also had more significant health problems than those who did not.
So, what is the take home message regarding this study? If you’re having a male and are obese or have a family history of diabetes, please keep your appointment for your glucose (sugar) at 28 weeks so that gestational diabetes can be identified early. If you have a daughter and have family risk factors, pay close attention to your health later in life. Most family practice providers will order a hemoglobin A1C that tells you whether your sugar has been controlled during the past 3 months. If your sugar has not been controlled, he or she will develop an individualized program that might include lifestyle changes as well as changing your diet.
Diabetes affects 29.1 million or 9% of the U.S. population and 8% of pregnant women each year. Unfortunately 8 million people have diabetes but don’t know it although it is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
Knowing what your risk factors for diabetes will not only save the life of your baby, but potentially yours as well.
Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.