Gestational diabetes linked to pre-pregnancy weight
By Joene Hendry
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women planning to become pregnant may decrease their likelihood of developing gestational diabetes by not gaining weight, study findings suggest.
Women who gained about 5 to 22 pounds per year during the 5 years prior to pregnancy were 2.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes, Dr. Monique M. Hedderson and colleagues report.
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.
Hedderson, of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, in Oakland, California, and colleagues assessed weight change during the 5 years prior to pregnancy using medical records from a large group of multiethnic women enrolled in a prepaid health plan in northern California.
From this group, the researchers identified 251 women who developed gestational diabetes and 204 who did not to serve as controls. The women all delivered a live infant between 1996 and 1998, the researchers report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Hedderson's group compared how weight change, as opposed to maintaining a stable weight (plus or minus 1 kilogram 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.
"The association between weight gain and gestational diabetes was stronger among women who were not initially overweight or obese," Hedderson told Reuters Health.
As noted, women who gained from 2.3 to 10 kilograms per year had a 2.5-fold increased risk for gestational diabetes compared with women with stable weights. Gaining 1.1 to 2.2 kilograms a year (2.4 to 4.8 pounds) was associated with a small increased risk, while losing from 1.1 to 12.2 kilograms (up to nearly 27 pounds) per year did not significantly alter risk.
These findings suggest that weight gain within 5 years of pregnancy increases the risk for gestational diabetes, Hedderson and colleagues note. But the findings of this small study should be confirmed in larger groups, Hedderson added.
SOURCE: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, April 2008.