Objectives: To assess the long-term outcomes (type 2 diabetes, overweight, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic syndrome and neurological manifestations) from human epidemiological studies of foetuses exposed to gestational diabetes.
Method: A literature search on Medline was performed for the period from 01 January 1990 to 01 April 2010. Prospective (follow-up of children born to diabetic mothers) and retrospective (investigation of parental history of diabetes in diabetic subjects) studies were analysed.
Results: Exposure to gestational diabetes moderately increases the risk of subsequent metabolic complications. It seems that this foetal exposure to maternal blood glucose is only one risk factor of metabolic syndrome among others. In particular, the role of maternal weight in the occurrence of the metabolic syndrome in the offspring is difficult to distinguish from that of gestational diabetes.
Conclusion: According to the current state of knowledge, it is uncertain whether maternal glycaemia control alone during pregnancy is sufficient for the prevention of metabolic syndrome in the offspring.