A recent study performed at the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente revealed that weight between pregnancies may actually affect the chances of developing gestational diabetes with subsequent pregnancies.
Gestational diabetes affects approximately four percent of all pregnant women. It can cause the mother to be at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy and often leads to higher birth weight babies.
The study examined records that covered 22,000 women who have had more than one child over the last ten years. According to the results, forty-six out of 1,000 women developed gestational diabetes with their first pregnancy, 52 out of 1,000 women developed diabetes during their second pregnancies, and 18 out of 1,000 women developed gestational diabetes during both pregnancies.
The study indicated that, when examining results for the second pregnancy, women who gained weight after the first pregnancy were at the highest risk for developing gestational diabetes. Women who did not lose pregnancy weight after the first pregnancy also had a heightened risk but were not at as high a risk as women who actually gained weight.
While these results can be a little alarming to women, the researchers working on the study indicated that they were not surprised. After all, being overweight is a risk for Type 2 diabetes, even in individuals that are not pregnant. Early intervention and proper education, however, can help to reduce the risk.
According to the study, the risk for gestational diabetes was actually reduced when women started their pregnancy at a healthy weight. This applied to both first and subsequent pregnancies. However, the researchers realize the serious challenges that many new moms face when trying to lose weight after pregnancy.
The solution may rest in proper nutrition education before, during, and after pregnancy. However, it is evident that, in order for women to lose pregnancy weight or reduce weight from obesity, serious intervention will need to take place to help women lose weight before and after pregnancy occurs.
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