There have been a number of recent discoveries regarding diabetes and how it can affect women and children, and new research is claiming to have uncovered an alarming link between the condition and autism in children.
According to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, diabetes that develops early in pregnancy may increase women’s chances of having a child with autism.
Researchers looked at the medical records of over 322,000 children born at a number of California hospitals between 1995 and 2010 for the study, and found that mums who developed gestational diabetes by the 26th week of pregnancy were 40% more likely to have children with autism compared to those without the condition.
Out of about 3,400 autistic children, 130 of those were found to have been exposed to diabetes early in pregnancy.
While researchers have not yet been able to identify a reason for the potential link, they claim that exposure to high levels of blood sugar from the mother may disrupt foetal brain growth.
One in 37 pregnant women are affected by gestational diabetes.