The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research has released information that could be vitally important for pregnant women, especially those considering having another child. Weight gain that occurs between pregnancies can markedly increase a woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes during her subsequent pregnancy.
By the same token, losing weight post-pregnancy can reduce a woman’s chances of getting gestational diabetes during her next pregnancy. This is particularly true if the woman had been overweight before conceiving her first child. Gestational diabetes is defined as glucose intolerance with onset or first diagnosis during pregnancy.
The Kaiser Permanente research revealed that women whose body mass indexes rose 2.0 to 2.9 points between pregnancies, anywhere from 12 to 17 pounds, were more than twice as likely to develop gestational diabetes during their second pregnancies compared with females whose weight stayed the same.
Ladies who shed more than six pounds between pregnancies reduced their risk of getting gestational diabetes in their second pregnancies by fifty percent.
Gestational diabetes, when left untreated, can lead to complications in the baby. In addition, women with a gestational diabetes history should be tested for Type II diabetes after they deliver, since they may be at higher risk of developing the disease for several years after pregnancy.
On a positive note, gestational diabetes is not strongly linked with birth defects. Congenital malformations usually occur during the first trimester, whereas gestational diabetes develops slowly and often does not manifest until the last three months of pregnancy.
Of the mothers of infants with birth defects who had gestational diabetes, it was found that most of the women had a higher body mass index. This suggests that at least some of these women may have actually had pre-gestational Type II diabetes, not the gestational type.