Maternal Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes Lead to Increased Asthma Risk for Offspring

Researchers examined the relationship between maternal diabetes and asthma risk in children.

This article is part of Endocrinology Advisor’s coverage of the American Diabetes Association’s 77th Scientific Sessions (ADA 2017), taking place in San Diego, CA. Our staff will report on medical research and technological advances in diabetes and diabetes education, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from ADA 2017.

Children born to mothers with either type 2 or gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing asthma, particularly when the maternal diabetes requires medication, according to research presented at the 77th American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions, held June 9-13 in San Diego, California.

Researchers from Pasadena and Los Angeles, California, examined data from 144,596 children (n=3856 exposed to maternal type 2 diabetes; n=21,832 exposed to gestational diabetes; n=118,908 unexposed) to determine the impact of exposure to either type 2 or gestational diabetes.


Study participants were matched at a 5:1 ratio of unexposed to diabetes-exposed children; all children were born between 1995 and 2009, and followed prospectively beginning at 5 years of age.

During a median of 8.1 years (interquartile range: 6.1-11.8) after birth, 19.7% of children exposed to type 2 diabetes, 19.5% of children exposed to gestational diabetes, and 18.2% of unexposed children were diagnosed with asthma; hazard ratios (HRs) for the type 2 and gestational diabetes groups were 1.23 and 1.12 (all P <.0001), respectively.

Following adjustment for maternal age, racial and socioeconomic demographics, history of comorbidity, smoking status during pregnancy, and the child’s sex, HRs were reduced to 1.10 (P =.03) and 1.09 (P <.0001), respectively, for the type 2 and gestational diabetes groups.

The greatest asthma risks were noted in children born to mothers who required the use of antidiabetic medication therapies during pregnancy. Adjusted HRs were 1.13 (P =.06) and 1.15 (P <.0001), respectively, for those with type 2 and gestational diabetes with medication use vs 1.08 (P =.23) and 1.06 (P =.01), respectively, for those with type 2 and gestational diabetes who did not use medication.

“[D]ata from this large and multiethnic clinical cohort suggest that both maternal [type 2 diabetes] and [gestational diabetes] were associated with modestly increased asthma risk in offspring,” the researchers concluded.

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Martinez M, Wang X, Mora-Marquez J, Page KA, Buchanan T, Xiang AH. Intrauterine exposure to maternal diabetes and risk of childhood asthma. Presented at: 77th Annual American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions; June 9-13, 2017; San Diego, CA. Abstract 1459.