Weight gain between pregnancies could put mom at risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), according to a new study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
This study is the first to examine whether weight loss before a second pregnancy reduces the risk of recurrent GDM.
The Rhode Island Department of Health says gestational diabetes can put your baby at risk for diabetes and obesity in the future.
Childhood obesity currently affects nearly 12 million children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that starts or is diagnosed during pregnancy when hormones can block insulin from working. When this happens, glucose levels may increase in a pregnant woman’s blood, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In this latest study, losing weight between the first and second pregnancies appeared to reduce GDM risk in a second pregnancy, particularly for women who were overweight or obese to begin with, according to the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
The study comprised 22,351 women in Northern California over a 10-year period. Women who gained 2.0-2.9 BMI units (approximately 12 to 17 pounds) between the first and second pregnancy were over two times more likely to develop GDM in the second pregnancy compared with those whose weight remained stable (plus or minus 6 pounds between pregnancies). Women who gained 3.0 or more BMI units (approximately 18 or more pounds) between the first and second pregnancy were over three times more likely to develop GDM during the second pregnancy compared with those whose weight remained stable.
Women who lost more than 6 pounds between the first and second pregnancy reduced their risk of developing GDM in the second pregnancy by approximately 50 percent compared with women whose weight remained stable.
Symptoms of GDM may include blurred vision, fatigue, frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin, increased thirst and urination, nausea and vomiting, and eeight loss in spite of increased appetite.
According to NIH, you are at greater risk for gestational diabetes if:
- Are older than 25 and pregnant
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or had a birth defect
- Have glucose in your urine when you see your doctor for a regular prenatal visit
- Have high blood pressure
- Have too much amniotic fluid
- Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
- Were overweight before your pregnancy
Gestational diabetes usually starts halfway through the pregnancy. All pregnant women should receive an oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to screen for the condition. Often, the blood sugar (glucose) level returns to normal after delivery.