An analysis conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions found that women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes (T2D) after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles.

These results provide insights into the genetic factors underlying the risk of T2D and may reveal strategies for reducing the risk among women who had gestational diabetes.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from 2434 women with gestational diabetes who participated in the Diabetes & Women’s Health Study, which followed women before, during, and after pregnancy, and captured data on their health later in life. Of the original group, 601 women with gestational diabetes went on to develop T2D.

The research team checked genetic scans of the 2434 women for the presence of 59 genetic variants thought to be more common in people who have T2D. In addition, the researchers found that women who had the largest proportion of these gene variants were 19% more likely to develop T2D compared to those who had the lowest proportion of these variants.

Moreover, the researchers also ranked the women’s diets according to proportion of healthy foods. Among the women who adhered to a healthier diet, the risk associated with the gene variants was lower than that of the other women, but the differences between the 2 groups were not statistically significant.

The researchers concluded that their study is among the largest to date that looks at genetic factors underlying the development of T2D among women with prior gestational diabetes. However, the number of women participating in the study may not be big enough to find a significant interaction between healthy diet and genetic susceptibility in relation to this risk, according to the authors.


Genetic profile may predict chance of type 2 diabetes among women with gestational diabetes. NIH. Published February 13, 2020. Accessed February 18, 2020.

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