Gestational diabetes mellitus is defined by new-onset glucose intolerance during pregnancy. About 2–5% of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancies and the prevalence has increased considerably during the last decade. This metabolic condition is manifested when pancreatic β-cells lose their ability to compensate for increased insulin resistance during pregnancy, however, the pathogenesis of the disease remains largely unknown. Gestational diabetes is strongly associated with adverse pregnancy outcome as well as with long-term adverse effects on the offspring which likely occurs due to epigenetic modifications of the fetal genome. In the current review we address gestational diabetes and the short and long term complications for both mothers and offspring focusing on the importance of fetal programming in conferring risk of developing diseases in adulthood.
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