Children born to mothers with pregnancy-related diabetes are twice as likely to have language development problems, says a new study.
The research team from Universite Laval's School of Psychology suggests that gestational diabetes can adversely affect brain development of babies leading to language delay in children.
During the study the research team led by Professor Ginette Dionne analysed the vocabulary and grammar skills of 221 children whose mothers were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
These tests were conducted at different intervals between ages 18 months and 7 years.
They found that children born to mothers with gestational diabetes achieve poorer scores on tests of spoken vocabulary and grammar than children of healthy mothers.
The differences between the two groups are probably due to the effects of gestational diabetes on the brain development of babies.
These effects persist even after the children start school.
However, researchers suggest that the impact of pregnancy-related diabetes on language development is not inevitable, as children of more educated mothers appear less affected.
This protection may be the result of the more stimulating environment in which children of more highly educated mothers develop, but it could also be due to genes that could make some babies less vulnerable, said Dionne.
For the moment, we cannot isolate the two factors, but ongoing studies should allow us to answer that question, she added.
The study appears in journal Pediatrics.