Gestational Diabetes Linked To Autism

A new study has found that gestational diabetes during pregnancy is linked to autism.

Mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes (which is a form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy) were more likely to have children who would later be diagnosed with autism.

{ MORE: 5 Things to Expect When You Have Babies 10 Years Apart }

According to the study, which looked at over 322,000 children, the link between diabetes and autism was the highest when the mothers were diagnosed early on in their pregnancies. Women who had no previous history of diabetes and were then diagnosed with gestational diabetes by the 26th week of their pregnancies had the highest rate of children with autism, with those families 42% more likely to have a child diagnosed with the disorder.

The overall rate of autistic children in the study was not particularly high — only 1% of the children were diagnosed — but for the women with gestational diabetes before that 26-week mark, the rate increased from 1% to 1.4%. On average, the children were diagnosed by age 5 1/2.

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Image via Flickr/ JerryLai0208

Further proving that blood sugar levels may be a factor in the development of autism, the researchers also found that women who had type 2 diabetes (which means they weren't born with diabetes) also had a higher rate of autism. But women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes after 26 weeks did not have children with higher rates of autism.

So what could be the possible explanation for the link between diabetes and autism? Anny Xiang, the study's lead researcher, theorized that the uncontrolled diabetes could lead to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels in the brain, which could interfere with brain development in the fetus, especially in that crucial first trimester. 

With autism rates steadily on the rise, it's long been a puzzle to figure out exactly what is causing autism, and I find this new study very interesting. With a diet of more processed, high-sugar foods for many people, could sugar be a simple link and therefore hopefully a simple solution to lowering the rates of autism?

{ MORE: Diabetes During Pregnancy is a Big Deal -- Do You Know Your Risk? }

Did you have gestational diabetes and a child later diagnosed with autism?

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Gestational Diabetes Linked To Autism

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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