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Does gestational diabetes run in families?

William Lee Dubois
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism

Yep! Type-2 Diabetes, of which gestational diabetes is a special sub-set, has a very strong genetic component. In other words, it’s often a family tradition. If you have a sibling, parent, or grandparent who has diabetes you are much more likely to develop it too. Of course, age and weight before becoming pregnant play a large role too.

But the bottom line is plenty of women with gestational diabetes have safe pregnancies with healthy happy babies. It’s diabetes that you don’t know about that is dangerous. If you have a family history of diabetes, be sure your medical team keeps a close eye on you and that they test you for it.

If you develop gestational diabetes it’s not the end of the world. We have several approved medications that can be used to keep your blood sugar in control while being safe for your baby. You might even be able to control it by changing your diet.  Yeah, no one likes to do that, but it is only for a few months!

It is difficult to determine whether you are at risk for gestational diabetes if you are related to someone who developed this condition. However, you are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes if an immediate family member, such as a parent or sibling, has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It's important to know your family medical history, so that you can share this history with your doctor before you become pregnant. This will help determine whether you are screened for gestational diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.