Women who develop gestational diabetes in their first pregnancy run a higher risk of its recurrence in subsequent pregnancies and later during life, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has revealed.

The study, conducted with a sample size of 65,132 women, analyzed cases of women without gestational diabetes in their first pregnancies with those who developed the syndrome during that period.

It was found that women who developed gestational diabetes the first time round suffered a substantially higher risk of the disease recurring in subsequent pregnancies. The risk was as high as 25 times in such women during their third pregnancies.

Analysis of the medical records of women, who delivered at Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Pasadena, California, between 1991 and 2008, showed that gestational diabetes recurred more in women aged 30 years and above and had a longer gap between pregnancies.

Dr. Darios Getahun, lead author of the study, felt that their research indicated the importance of educating and counseling pregnant women on the recurrence of gestational diabetes. These efforts need to be stepped up after the first pregnancy.

The silent nature of gestational diabetes means that it becomes more critical to identify early symptoms and watch the patients during prenatal care, says Dr. Darios. The disease needs to be controlled early as it may lead to complications like high blood pressure, urinary infections, birth trauma etc.