Researchers with the University of Bristol in England came to that conclusion after reviewing data from a large study of 1958 British births. After examining births to fathers and mothers who developed non-insulin dependent (adult) diabetes after birth, the researchers found that the babies of diabetic fathers weighed an average of 186 grams (or nearly six ounces) less than children of fathers who did not have diabetes.
They also examined other factors like the father's height and social class, as well as the child's birth order, but found no associations as strong as the diabetes connection.
On the other hand, the study found that mothers with active diabetes were shown to have babies with an increased birth weight.
The researchers conclude that the findings support hypotheses regarding the influence of genetic factors on decreased prenatal growth.
The findings are reported in tomorrow's issue of the British Medical Journal.
Visit the American Diabetes Association for more information on diabetes and pregnancy.