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Weight Gain from Pregnancy increases risk of DM

New studies reveal that women who have more than one child who also gain weight in between pregnancies increase their risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is typically associated with obesity and weight gain, and since women are prone to gaining weight during and after pregnancy, it gives them more reason to be mindful of their lifestyle and diet.

Incidentally, losing weight between the first and second pregnancy reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the second pregnancy especially for women who are overweight to begin with.

GDM, according to the American Diabetes Association, is the condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It happens when the body of a pregnant woman does not secrete excess insulin required during pregnancy leading to increased blood sugar levels.

These new studies showed women that gained 12 to 17 pounds in between pregnancies are two times more likely to develop GDM in their second pregnancy. Mothers who lost 6 pounds or more between their first and second pregnancies reduced their risk for developing GDM in their second pregnancy by up to 50 percent in comparison with women who maintained a stable weight.

“It is important to recognize and treat gestational diabetes as soon as possible to minimize the risk of complications for the mother and more importantly for the baby,” according to Samantha Ehrlich, a project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente is a healthcare organization that provides quality care for its members and their families.

Women with a history of gestational diabetes should also get themselves tested for diabetes after pregnancy to avert the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the years following delivery she added. She further explained that these findings 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. Taken together, the results support the avoidance of gestational weight retention and postpartum weight gain to decrease the risk of GDM in a second pregnancy, as well as the promotion of postpartum weight loss in overweight or obese women, particularly those with a history of GDM.”

GDM however has not yet been shown to be a risk factor for causing birth defect in the child. Birth defects originate during the first trimester which is when GDM is least pronounced.

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