Diabetes and Pregnancy: What Lies Ahead?

Diabetes risk during pregnancy can be predicted years before pregnancy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) A pregnant woman not only has to watch out for her health, but also for the health of her baby. Diseases like diabetes can hurt both the mother and child. That's why it's especially important to spot who is at risk as early as possible.

Researchers have found that they can predict a woman's risk of getting diabetes during pregnancy many years before she becomes pregnant. Using a series of tests, doctors can measure common risk factors for diabetes and heart disease in order to see if a woman is likely to get diabetes during pregnancy.

"Ask you doctor to test for diabetes if you are pregnant."

For their study, Monique M. Hedderson, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente, and colleagues compared 199 women who developed diabetes during pregnancy - a condition known as gestational diabetes mellitus - to 381 healthy women.

They found that a woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy increased with her number of cardiometabolic risk factors - such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol, and being overweight.

Women who had dangerous levels of both body mass index (height and weight) and blood sugar were more than four times more likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy, compared to women with normal levels.

According to the study's authors, these findings will help doctors identify high-risk women so they can start taking action to prevent the disease, or to start early treatment. 

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Review Date: 
June 2, 2011
Last Updated:
June 6, 2011