A new study has shown a child or teenager whose mother had gestational diabetes, or diabetes during pregnancy was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes before the age of 22 years. Gestational diabetes refers to a condition wherein a woman becomes diabetic for the first time during pregnancy. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal said that even though Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes in parents are risk factors for diabetes in the kids, now it has been established that gestational diabetes mellitus may be a risk indicator for diabetes in the mother’s children before age 22. Some of the warning signs of diabetes in the offspring of a mother with gestational diabetes mellitus include frequent urination, abnormal thirst, weight loss or fatigue. Here are some other health complications that the offspring can develop if their mom has gestational diabetes.

Premature delivery: When a woman develops diabetes during pregnancy, her blood sugar levels are abnormally high and frequently fluctuate. These factors increase the risk of premature deliveries. In this case, both the mother and the baby require intensive care. The baby may need to be kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Fetal macrosomia: The babies of mothers with gestational diabetes can have excessive birth weight — more than eight pounds.

Obesity: A baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes is at high risk of developing obesity later in life. A study showed that such babies are 16 per cent more likely to have excess body fat at two months after birth as compared to other babies. One of the reasons for this could be that gestational diabetes causes changes in the composition of breast milk in mothers with gestational diabetes.

Autism: A study established a link between gestational diabetes and autism. The study said that babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder. What also mattered was how severe the gestational diabetes was and whether the foetus was exposed to it in the early pregnancy or late.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes are not very clear. This is why pregnant women are also screened for glucose tolerance test to check if they are at risk of developing gestational diabetes.