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Post Baby Weight Increases Risk for Diabetes

With my second son I had gestational diabetes, and while I do not fully believe that I had it, I was treated in my third trimester as though I was a diabetic.  Nutritionist appointments, bi-weekly check ups with an endocrinologist to make sure my sugar was under control, and a whole lot of finger pricks, which I hated!

Two weeks ago I came across an article about the link between post weight gain after having a baby, and that increasing your risk for gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. While I didn’t gain weight after my first son was born, or my second son… I never made it back to my official pre pregnancy weight, and looking back I can’t help but wonder if that played a part in the gestational diabetes diagnosis with my second son.

According to a new study, gaining weight between your first and second pregnancy increases your risk for a gestational diabetes diagnosis, while losing weight in between those pregnancies can reduce your risk, especially in women who are considered obese already.

The LA Times also covered the news story explaining:

To learn about weight gains and losses — and its impact on second pregnancies — researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied 22,351 women over a 10-year period, noting their weight gain and BMIs between their pregnancies. The study was published online Monday in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Losing weight appeared to reduce risk of gestational diabetes,” said the study’s lead investigator, Samantha Ehrlich, a project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in California. “If at their first pregnancy they were overweight or obese, and then between pregnancies they lost weight, they reduced their risk.”

Also discovered in the study was women who gained 18 pounds or more between pregnancies were three times more likely to have gestational diabetes during their next pregnancy, women who lost 6 or more pounds in between pregnancies reduced their risk 50%, and women who gained 12 to 17 pounds between their first and second pregnancy were two times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Some of the risks of gestational diabetes include:

  • fetal macrosomia (a large baby)
  • obesity in childhood, and adulthood (for the baby)
  • possibly seizures for your baby after birth (if blood sugar is not controlled)
  • polycythemia in your infant

For man women, gestational diabetes can be controlled by dietary changes, and cutting sugars, carbs, and other problem foods during pregnancy.

photo: flickr.com/davhor

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