Pregnancy Diabetes DoublesRisk Of Language Delay InChildren
Results showed that children born to mothers withgestational diabetes achieve poorer scores on tests of spoken vocabulary and grammar than children of healthymothers. The differences between the two groups areprobably due to the effects of gestational diabetes on thebrain development of babies. The study shows thatthese effects persist even after the children start school.This study is the first to isolate the effect of gestationaldiabetes from other factors including
familysocioeconomic status, alcohol and tobacco consumption aswell as maternal hypertension during pregnancy.
However, the study suggests that the impact of pregnancy-related diabetes on language development isnot inevitable, as children of more educated mothersappear less affected. "This protection may be the resultof the more stimulating environment in which children of more highly educated mothers develop,, but it could also be due to genes that could make somebabies less vulnerable," explains Ginette Dionne. "For the moment, we cannot isolate the two factors, butongoing studies should allow us to answer thatquestion," she continued.Between 2% and 14% of children are born to motherswho suffer from gestational diabetes. Risk factors for thiscomplication during pregnancy include the mother's ageand her body mass index. "As mothers are having their children at a later age and the incidence of obesity in thepopulation is on the rise, the rate of gestational diabetesis clearly increasing," underlined Professor Dionne. "Therisk to babies' language development needs to be takeninto account," she concludes.In addition to Ginette Dionne, the study was coauthoredby Michel Boivin, Jean R. Séguin, Daniel Pérusse, andRichard E. Tremblay. Authors are members of theResearch unit on psychosocial maladjustment inchildren.