There are a number of maternal diseases that place pregnancy and offspring at risk of mortality or morbidity. These include diabetes, hypertension, congenital heart disease, anemia, connective tissue disorders etc.
A recent study published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that people whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy may have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease by early adulthood.
The study included 293,546 offspring of 189,939 mothers. Of those, 96.1% were not exposed to maternal diabetes, 2.8% were exposed to gestational diabetes and 1.1% was exposed to pre-existing type 2 diabetes. During the average 20.5-year follow-up period, 5.3% of offspring experienced a risk factor or event related to CVD - 0.9% experienced a CVD end point, and 4.3% experienced a CVD risk factor.
After adjusting for maternal age, socioeconomic factors, preterm birth and other factors, researchers determined that the risk for CVD events was elevated among those exposed to gestational diabetes in utero (adjusted HR [aHR] = 1.27; 95% CI, 1.02-1.59) and type 2 diabetes (aHR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.05-2.07).
According to researchers, the elevated risks were primarily driven by higher rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease among people with intrauterine exposure to diabetes and also found that the first CVD-related outcome occurred 2 to 4 years earlier in those exposed to gestational or type 2 diabetes in utero than in those who were not.
Study concluded that intrauterine exposure to gestational diabetes or type 2 diabetes would be associated with higher cardiovascular disease morbidity relative to no intrauterine exposure to diabetes. Cardiovascular disease morbidity was increased and the time to a first cardiovascular disease risk factor was reduced following foetal exposure to gestational diabetes, effects that were amplified following exposure to type 2 diabetes in utero.