Women who are expecting male babies are likelier to develop gestational diabetes than women who are expecting girls, finds new study. Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has higher levels of glucose, or blood sugar, in the bloodstream than normal. Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes face a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

One of the study’s authors, Baiju R. Shah, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto, said that 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. Their findings suggest a male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.

While the researchers found women who were having boys were more likely to develop gestational diabetes, women who did develop gestational diabetes while they were pregnant with daughters were at higher risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. This suggests these women had more serious underlying metabolic abnormalities that made them more susceptible to gestational diabetes, even without the added impact of a developing male fetus, Shah said. Shah said the study suggests that the baby can help us better understand the health of the mother, and can help us predict her risks for future diseases.

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