MONDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- Women who gained 18 or more
pounds after their first baby was born are more than three times
more likely to develop gestational diabetes during their second
pregnancy, according to new research.
On the bright side, the study, published in the May 23 online
Obstetrics & Gynecology, also found that women who were able to shed six or more pounds between babies cut their risk of the condition by 50 percent.
Gestational diabetes, a condition that occurs during pregnancy,
can cause serious complications in the final weeks of pregnancy,
birth and right after a baby is born. Research shows that women who
have had the condition during one pregnancy have a greater chance
of developing the condition again. Excess weight gain before or
during pregnancy also boosts a woman's risk.
But women who trim extra pounds after the birth of a baby could
significantly reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes
in a subsequent pregnancy. The benefits of this weight loss are
even greater for women who were overweight before they had their
Over the course of a decade, more than 22,000 women from
Northern California were studied. Women who gained 12 to 17 pounds
between pregnancies were more than twice as likely to develop
gestational diabetes compared with women whose weight remained
relatively unchanged. A weight gain of 18 or more pounds tripled a
woman's risk of developing the condition.
Losing more than six pounds after giving birth could cut women's
risk of gestational diabetes in half -- especially among women who
were obese to begin with.
"The results also suggest that the effects of body mass gains may be greater among women of normal weight in their first pregnancy, whereas the effects of losses in body mass appear greater among overweight or obese women," the study's lead investigator Samantha Ehrlich, project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, said in a news release.
The study's authors noted that women diagnosed with gestational
diabetes at a healthy weight could be genetically predisposed to
the condition. In these cases, weight loss may not be as effective
in reducing their risk of the condition in a later pregnancy.
The American Diabetes Association provides detailed information
on the symptoms and treatment of