Washington: Women who developed gestational diabetes and were overweight before pregnancy were at a higher risk of begetting daughters who became obese later in childhood, said a research.
This is the first study of this kind directly linking maternal hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) to overweight offspring.
"Glucose levels during pregnancy, particularly gestational diabetes, were associated with the girls being overweight, and this association was much stronger if the mother was also overweight before pregnancy," said Ai Kubo, epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California in the US.
The study is based on long-term research that included a multi-ethnic cohort of 421 girls and their mothers.
The girls were followed from 2005 to 2011, with annual clinic visits to measure each girl's height, weight, body fat, abdominal obesity, and other parameters, pointed out the study.
Pregnant women in the Kaiser Permanente system were asked to take glucose tolerance tests during gestational weeks 24 to 28.
Twenty-seven mothers in the study had gestational diabetes, found the study.
If a girl's mother had gestational diabetes, the former's risk of having a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile was 3.5 times higher than that of girls whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes, said the authors.
In case her mother was also overweight and had gestational diabetes, the risk of being overweight was about 5.5 times higher, found the research.
Behaviour modifications in women to reduce weight gain and improve lifestyle before and during pregnancy may also help reduce the risk of obesity in their offspring, concluded Kubo.
The study appeared in the journal Diabetes Care.