Gestational diabetes risk increases among women that gain weight between first, second pregnancies

OAKLAND, Calif. — Women that experience body mass index gains between their first and second pregnancies are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study.

The study examined a diverse cohort of 22,351 women from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California over a 10-year period. Women who gained 2.0 to 2.9 BMI units (approximately 12 lbs. to 17 lbs.) between the first and second pregnancy were more than two times more likely to develop GDM in the second pregnancy, compared with those whose weight remained stable (i.e., plus or minus 6 lbs. between pregnancies). What's more, women who lost more than 6 lbs. between the first and second pregnancy reduced their risk of developing GDM in the second pregnancy by approximately 50%, compared with women whose weight remained stable.

The study, which is said to be the first to examine whether weight loss before a second pregnancy reduces the risk of recurrent GDM, was published online in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"[The results] support the avoidance of gestational weight retention and postpartum weight gain to decrease the risk of GDM in a second pregnancy, as well as the promotion of postpartum weight loss in overweight or obese women, particularly those with a history of GDM," according to study lead investigator Samantha Ehrlich, a project manager at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

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