Losing baby weight and pregnancy-linked diabetes
Women who gained 8 or more kilograms after their first baby was born are more than three times more likely to develop gestational diabetes during their second pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes, a condition that occurs during pregnancy, can cause serious complications in the final weeks of pregnancy, birth and right after a baby is born. Research shows that women who have had the condition during one pregnancy have a greater chance of developing the condition again. Excess weight gain before or during pregnancy also boosts a woman's risk.
But women who trim extra kilos after the birth of a baby could significantly reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes in a subsequent pregnancy. The benefits of this weight loss are even greater for women who were overweight before they had their first child.
Over the course of a decade, researchers studied more than 22,000 women from Northern California. It was found that women who gained 5 to 7 kg between pregnancies were more than twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes compared with women whose weight remained relatively unchanged. A weight gain of 8 or more kilograms tripled a woman's risk of developing the condition. Losing more than three kilograms after giving birth could cut women's risk of gestational diabetes in half - especially among women who were obese to begin with. The study also found that women who were able to shed three or more kilos between babies cut their risk of the condition by 50 percent.
The above results suggest that the effects of body mass gains may be greater among women of normal weight in their first pregnancy, whereas the effects of losses in body mass appear greater among overweight or obese women.
Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes at a healthy weight could be genetically predisposed to the condition, the researchers noted. In these cases, weight loss may not be as effective in reducing their risk of the condition in a later pregnancy.
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