The sins of the mother
In a nut shell this translates into: so goes the mother, so goes the baby. New research shows that out-of-control diabetic mothers are more likely to have babies that get diabetes sooner. This is above and beyond the genetic predisposition for diabetes that gets passed on from parents to the next generation.
So here is a way to think about this: our DNA is our hardware. Our in utero environment is our software. No matter how you are built, your software is how you are programmed to run.
While you are a fetus, your body learns to adapt to the environment it grows in. All human systems seek homeostasis, a biological steady state maintained by a constant dance of input and counter input, just like keeping a car in its lane requires constant subtle adjustments of the steering wheel and accelerator.
If you think about this, it is logical. If your body grows up in a high-sugar environment, it thinks that high-sugar is normal. The problem, of course, is that no matter how much battery acid you are exposed to; you can never adapt to swimming in it. High sugar is battery acid. It corrodes all living flesh in time.
But metabolic imprinting is about more than just blood sugar, it is about the entire balance of what makes us metabolically healthy or unhealthy. Lipids. Blood pressure. God only knows what else. The growing baby learns from its mother how to act. And just like a parent can be a good or bad influence on social behavior, so too, apparently, can she be a good or bad influence on metabolic behavior.
So the lesson for the day for the ladies: if you are planning a baby, get your metabolic house in order first. If you find yourself pregnant (oops!); get your house in order ASAP.