Increased Childhood Asthma Risk With Maternal Type 2, Gestational Diabetes

Asthma risk increased when mothers required antidiabetic medication during pregnancy to manage either type 2 or gestational diabetes.

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.

This article originally appeared on Endocrinology Advisor