The study showed that women with gestational diabetes were more likely to have a high glomerular filtration rate (GFR) -- an estimate of how much blood per minute passes through the glomeruli, the tiny filters within kidneys that extract waste from the blood.
‘High blood sugar during pregnancy may cause early-stage kidney damage that can later lead to chronic kidney diseases.’
Women with gestational diabetes had more than triple the risk of an elevated GFR, which may precede the early kidney damage that accompanies pre-diabetes -- a condition with higher blood sugar levels but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
"Our findings suggest that women who have had gestational diabetes may benefit from periodic checkups to detect early-stage kidney damage and receive subsequent treatment," said Cuilin Zhang from National Institutes of Health's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in Maryland, US.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, included data from 601 Danish women having gestational diabetes and 613 non-diabetic women.
The results showed that women who had gestational diabetes and later developed diabetes were approximately nine times more likely to have an elevated GFR later in life, compared to women who did not have gestational diabetes.
They were also likely to have an elevated urinary albumin to creatinine ratio (UACR), which is an indicator of kidney disease.
The study could not prove that gestational diabetes causes kidney damage, and the authors noted that more research is needed to confirm their findings.