, 14:489,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Mar 2014

Long-Term Health Outcomes in Offspring Born to Women with Diabetes in Pregnancy


In this review, we critically assess recent evidence from human studies regarding the potential implications of exposure to maternal diabetes in-utero for long-term adiposity, cardiometabolic outcomes, and cognitive ability of the offspring. Evidence supports a direct causal role for exposure to maternal diabetes in utero in determining offspring long-term greater adiposity and adverse cardiometabolic health. Although a majority of observational studies report associations of exposure to maternal pregnancy diabetes with lower cognitive ability, there is also evidence supporting an opposite ‘protective’ intrauterine effect of exposure to maternal pregnancy diabetes on offspring cognitive ability. Epigenetic modification has been suggested as a mediator on the pathways from maternal pregnancy diabetes to long-term offspring outcomes and several recent studies that are reviewed here lend some support to this notion, but research in this area is still too novel to be conclusive.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Diabetes and Pregnancy