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Blood Type May Predict Diabetes Risk After Gestational Diabetes

Blood group also possible indicator of development of gestational diabetes itself.

Gestational diabetes presents in 5% of pregnancies. When it occurs, it is associated with negative outcomes to the neonate such as birth trauma, metabolic complications, dystocia, and macrosomia. For the mother, gestational diabetes carries a risk of transition to type 2 diabetes after birth. However, there is scant evidence about predictive genetic risk factors for gestational diabetes.

A new published study has found that the AB blood group is a risk factor for gestational diabetes. The researchers looked at 233 gestational diabetes patients at a hospital in Turkey. The study only included patients with known serotypes. The subjects were classified based on their blood group (A, B, AB, and O) and Rh status. The study compared the blood group distribution of these patients with the blood groups of over 17,000 healthy donors from the Turkish Red Crescent Blood Service.

Among patients with gestational diabetes, the AB blood group had a higher prevalence (P = 0.029). In patients who progressed to diabetes post-partum, the O blood group had higher prevalence and blood group B had the lowest associated risk of developing diabetes post-partum (P = 0.001). Finally, the authors also found that positive Rh status was associated with a higher incidence of diabetes progression after gestational diabetes in all blood groups except B (P = 0.008).

The results of the study imply that patients with blood type AB have the highest risk of developing gestational diabetes among the blood groups, and patients who have gestational diabetes and blood type O have the highest risk of progressing to diabetes post-partum. The study included relatively few patients in a homogenized group and only found an association, not causation. It should be cautioned that this subject needs further research to confirm and explain the association.

Practice Pearls:

  • Researchers in Turkey found that patients with blood type AB are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes than other blood types.
  • They also found that, among patients who have developed gestational diabetes, blood type O patients had the highest risk of transitioning to type 2 diabetes post-partum.
  • Gestational diabetes has important health implications for both the mother and the neonate, so more research is needed to explore this association.

Karagoz H, Erden A, Ozer O, et al. “The role of blood groups in the development of diabetes mellitus after gestational diabetes mellitus.” Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2015 Oct; 2015(11): 1613-1617. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S92294