A new study has suggested that a woman's risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified seven years prior to pregnancy with routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and body weight.
Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, looked at women who had a subsequent pregnancy and compared those who developed gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy to women who did not have GDM.
They found that the risk of GDM increased directly with the number of adverse risk factors commonly associated with diabetes and heart disease (high blood sugar, hypertension and being overweight) present before pregnancy.
"Our study indicates that a woman's cardio-metabolic risk profile for factors routinely assessed at medical visits such as blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight can help clinicians identify high-risk women to target for primary prevention or early management of GDM," said lead author Monique Hedderson, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
This study is significant because it gives a better understanding of pre-pregnancy predictors of GDM that may help identify women at risk and get them into intervention programs before pregnancy to prevent GDM and its associated risks, researchers said.
The study is published in the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.