Monique Hedderson: Weight gain before pregnancy may increase chance of gestational diabetes
By: Tory Asfahani
30-May-2008 – Monique Hedderson, MPH, PhD, and Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD, a recipient of an ADA Research Award, have published results from a study that examined the weight gain of women prior to their pregnancy in relation to developing gestational diabetes in the April 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Ferrara is a senior scientist and Dr. Hedderson, the lead author, is a staff scientist at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California.
Together with their colleagues, they reviewed medical charts and data. They identified 251 women who developed gestational diabetes and 204 women who did not develop the disease. After determining which women were eligible for inclusion using criteria such as fasting glucose values, comparisons were made between the weight changes of the participants at an initial point sometime after their 18th birthday in a non-pregnant state, and in the five years before their pregnancy. The resulting data indicated that weight gain in the five years prior to pregnancy increased risk factors that lead to gestational diabetes. Women who gained five to 22 pounds per year were 2.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes. There was a stronger association between weight gain and gestational diabetes risk for those whose pre-pregnancy weight was not considered obese. The findings suggest that prevention of weight gain in the years preceding pregnancy can help reduce the risks for gestational diabetes. The researchers admit that with this new information more research should be completed using a larger sample size.
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