A new study from Australia has revealed that women who suffer from gestational diabetes are more likely to have children who will have diabetes and problems with their weight as they grow up. The team, from the Garvan Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, discovered changes in certain neuropeptides in the brain that control energy balance and body weight in the offspring mice.
The research, published in the journal Diabetologia, involved monitoring mice that developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy, which were found to be ‘foetal programming’ weight issues and other problems into their offspring.
Team member, Jenny Gunto, commented “We found that offspring from diabetic mothers spontaneously get fat on a normal diet. They even tend to eat a bit less than normal, but their metabolic rate is much lower so that doesn’t compensate.”
She added “As the offspring get fatter, their bodies become less able to secrete and use insulin, which shows they are in the first stages of developing diabetes themselves.”
These findings show a direct link between levels of blood sugar in the mother during pregnancy with the metabolic characteristics of her children in adult life. Gestational diabetes is associated with how much weight a woman gains during pregnancy, and babies born to women with the condition also have a higher risk of needing caesarean sections due to their weight at full term.

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