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Pre-pregnancy weight and gestational diabetes

Women can cut down the risk of developing gestational diabetes by not gaining weight prior to pregnancy.

Pre-pregnancy weight and gestational diabetes

Women can cut down the risk of developing gestational diabetes by not gaining weight prior to pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, marked by glucose intolerance that is first experienced or noticed during pregnancy, may require daily insulin injections and is associated with fetal complications. The condition usually resolves after childbirth. Researchers in America assessed weight changes in 14,235 multiethnic women for five years prior to pregnancy. These women had enrolled in a prepaid health plan in Northern California and had delivered a live baby between 1996 and 1998. From this group, 251 women were identified to have developed gestational diabetes and 204 who did not were used as controls. All the women were assessed to find out how changes in weight, as opposed to maintaining a stable weight (plus or minus 1 kg or 2.2 pounds per year), altered risk after allowing for factors known to be associated with developing gestational diabetes, such as age, ethnicity, number of previous births, and high body mass index. It was found that women who gained from 2.3 to 10 kg per year within five years prior to pregnancy were 2.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes compared with women with stable weights. Gaining 1.1–2.2 kg a year (2.4–4.8 pounds) was associated with a small increased risk, while losing from 1.1–12.2 kg (up to nearly 27 pounds) per year did not significantly alter risk. These findings suggest that weight gain within five years of pregnancy increases the risk for gestational diabetes. However, larger studies are required to confirm the findings.
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology,
April 2008
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