Gestational Diabetes Risk Increases With Each Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes has been making a lot of news. We’ve learned that the condition may be affected by maternal diet early in pregnancy and that it may affect the health of future generations.

Now we’ve learned that a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes increases with each baby—if she’s had the condition at least once. This connection has been suspected, but the extent of the risk was not known. A new study published  in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology measures the connections between gestational diabetes and future pregnancies. The numbers were pretty intense…

A woman who develops gestational diabetes in her first pregnancy is 13.2 times more likely to experience it in her second pregnancy than a woman who hasn’t had it before.  If she gets gestational diabetes in both her first and second pregnancy, she’s 26 times more likely to get it in a third pregnancy. Women who had gestational diabetes in their first but not second pregnancies still had an elevated risk of GD in third pregnancies: 6.2 times compared to someone with no prior history.

Unfortunately there’s still not much known about what women can do to prevent gestational diabetes. Weight is a common factor, but women with no weight issues get it. So do women who eat healthy diets and exercise regularly. A recent study linked gestational diabetes to seratonin resulting from protein intake early in pregnancy. It is hoped that this finding will lead to more information and a means of preventing or lowering risk of this mysterious pregnancy complication. Although gestational diabetes raises the risk of certain problems in pregnancy, it can usually be managed by controlling the diet.

photo: Jessica Merz/flickr

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