Women who gain weight between their first and second pregnancies are at greater risk of developing gestational diabetes in their second pregnancy than women whose weight remained stable, according to a study published today. But losing weight between pregnancies can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy — especially for those who were overweight or obese to begin with.
To learn about weight gains and losses — and its impact on second pregnancies — researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied 22,351 women over a 10-year period, noting their weight gain and BMIs between their pregnancies. The study was published online Monday in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"Losing weight appeared to reduce risk of gestational diabetes," said the study's lead investigator, Samantha Ehrlich, a project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California. "If at their first pregnancy they were overweight or obese, and then between pregnancies they lost weight, they reduced their risk."
Researchers found that:
- Women who lost more than six pounds between their first and second pregnancies reduced their risk of developing gestational diabetes by more than 50 percent.
- Women who gained between 12 and 17 pounds between their first and second pregnancies were more than twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes than women whose weight remained stable.
- Women who gained 18 pounds or more between pregnancies were more than three times more likely to develop gestational diabetes than women whose weight remained stable.
Although researchers have done many studies about weight gain during pregnancy and its relationship to gestational diabetes, this is the first study that looked at whether losing weight between pregnancies reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, according to Kaiser Permanente.
Because the researchers factored height and weight into their equations, tall women may be able to gain slightly more weight before their risk of gestational diabetes increases, Ehrlich said.
Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a person who does not have diabetes.
Although gestational diabetes occurs in about seven percent of U.S. pregnancies, health officials worry about the condition because it has implications for both the baby and the mother. Gestational diabetes can lead to babies who are larger than normal — and the children are at greater risk for obesity later in life.
For pregnant women, delivering a larger than normal baby can complicate childbirth and may require a Cesarean section. In addition, women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at greater risk of developing diabetes later — even though the gestational diabetes usually disappears after childbirth. Within 10 years after giving birth, about 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes will develop type-2 diabetes, Ehrlich said.
"We know that women who have gestational diabetes in the past are at increased risk to get it again," Ehrlich said. "That suggests that preventive efforts should be targeted to these women."
The goal, said Ehrlich, is to help pregnant women re-examine how they eat and exercise after their first baby is born.
"We're hoping the results of this study — and other studies at Kaiser Permanente — will push doctors to help women after they deliver and help them implement these lifestyle changes and lose the weight, which is not easy," Ehrlich said.
Photo: Health Spa Blog
Technorati tags: Diabetes, Gestational, Prevention, Pregnancy.
Blogalaxia tags: Diabetes, Gestational, Prevention, Pregnancy.