In a new study published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, researchers suggest that women who gain weight in the years preceding pregnancy increase their risk of developing gestational diabetes. The study’s authors followed 3,000 18 to 23-year old Australian women for over a decade. The women regularly answered questions about their health and lifestyle, including reporting weight gain. Researcher Akilew Awoke Adane concluded that “Women with small weight gains within the healthy BMI range doubled their risk of gestational diabetes compared to women whose weight remained stable,” with “small” being defined as a gain of 1.5% to 2.5% of body weight per year.
Gestational diabetes can pose certain risks to an infant, including a fetal macrosomia (large baby), a higher risk of shoulder dystocia, instrumental delivery by forceps or vacuum, birth by caesarian section, very low blood glucose levels, jaundice, low calcium levels, breathing problems, and other issues. The study’s authors note that weight gain prevention in early adulthood is “the main strategy” for avoiding the incidence of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
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