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Accelerated weight gain before childbearing may lead to gestational diabetes

14 May 2019

Excessive gains in overall and central fat prior to the childbearing period pose an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a study has found.

Researchers used data from CARDIA, a multicentre longitudinal cohort of black and white individuals initially aged 18–30 years who underwent serial in-person examinations across 30 years. They identified 1,288 women who had given ≥1 birth from baseline, among whom 148 had at least one pregnancy with GDM.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), lipids and blood pressure, during pre- and postchildbearing period were analysed in relation to the risk of GDM using piecewise linear mixed-models.

Compared with non-GDM controls, women who had GDM showed a significantly higher annual BMI increase before initiation of childbearing (0.35 vs 0.23 kg/m2/year; p=0.03).

Results for WC followed a similar pattern, with marked prechildbearing increase observed in the GDM than in the non-GDM group (0.82 vs 0.54 cm/year; p=0.04).

On the other hand, annual increases in BMI and WC after childbearing did not differ between the two groups. No other CVD risk factors showed an association with GDM.

Cardiometabolic risk factor levels before pregnancy influence the risk of GDM, and the present data show that women who develop GDM pregnancy exhibit less favourable patterns of BMI and WC gains before the childbearing period, researchers said.

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