By Vanessa Chalmers Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 23:30 GMT, 4 December 2019 | Updated: 23:39 GMT, 4 December 2019
Mothers-to-be with diabetes may put their children at greater risk of heart disease, according to a study of 2.4million children.
Youngsters born to mothers diagnosed with the condition before pregnancy had a 34 per cent increased risk of early onset heart disease.
And those born to mothers who developed gestational diabetes - when they became pregnant - were 19 per cent more likely to suffer heart problems.
The odds were raised throughout the whole 40-years study period, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.
Danish scientists said the chances were highest among the children of mothers who suffered diabetic complications, such as kidney disease.
And the Aarhus University Hospital team warned there was no difference between whether a mother had type 1 or 2 diabetes.
High glucose levels in early pregnancy has major implications for the development of a baby's heart, they argued.
However, the results were merely observational and not causal. Further trials are needed, the academics said.
Mothers-to-be struck down with diabetes before or during pregnancy put their children at greater risk of heart disease, a study of 2.4million children shows
It is already known that gestational diabetes can cause problems such as pre-eclampsia, premature or stillbirth.
Children of these women are more likely to have risk factors for future heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, usually during the second or third trimester.
Women with gestational diabetes do not have diabetes before their pregnancy. It usually goes away after the birth.
It occurs when the hormones produced during pregnancy make it difficult for your body to use insulin properly, putting you at an increased risk of insulin resistance.
Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels through diet, exercise and sometimes medication.
Women can significantly reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes by managing their weight, eating healthily and keeping active.
Figures estimate one in five women will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Source: Diabetes UK
But it is unclear whether exposure to diabetes in the womb increases the risk of developing heart disease over a lifetime.
Study author Dr Yongfu Yu and colleagues used national registry data for children born without congenital heart disease in Denmark from 1977 to 2016.
Diabetes was categorised as pregestational - before pregnancy - or gestational. Women with any