- Gestational diabetes is a
condition that occurs during pregnancy and can cause health problems in
both mother and baby
- South Asian women are at higher
risk of developing gestational diabetes
- Pre-pregnancy weight and a
low-quality diet play a key role in increasing the risk among South Asian
women, finds a study
women are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, finds a study by a research
team at the McMaster University. The study also suggested that a low-quality
and pre-pregnancy weight could reduce the risk of gestational diabetes
The study called
the South Asian Birth Cohort (START) was led by Sonia Anand, professor of
medicine at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and senior
scientist at the Population Health Research Institute of Hamilton Health
Sciences and McMaster University.
‘A change in diet and pre-pregnancy weight could reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.’
The study was
conducted among South Asian women in Ontario. The research team found that
pre-pregnancy weight and low-quality diet increased the risk of gestational
diabetes by 37 percent.
Risk of Gestational
Diabetes among South Asian Women
The study was
based on data from the START Birth Cohort study. More than 1,000 women in their
second trimester of pregnancy from Ontario's Region of Peel participated in the
The START study
collected health information, physical measurements and glucose tolerance test
from the women. The team also obtained babies information on birth weight,
skinfold thickness, cord blood glucose and insulin levels.
Some of the
major risk factors that contributed to gestational diabetes among South Asian
women included age, family history of type 2 diabetes and maternal height.
factors like pre-pregnancy weight and low-diet quality also increased the risk
of gestational diabetes.
diet includes higher consumption of meat (red meat, chicken, and processed
meat), rice, fried foods and lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. A
high-quality diet was associated with higher consumption of legumes, whole
grains, and vegetables.
suggests that if South Asian women could achieve an optimal pre-pregnancy
weight and improve their diet quality, approximately one-third of gestational
diabetes in this demographic could be prevented," said Anand, who is also
a cardiologist and director of the Chanchlani Research Centre at McMaster.
highlights the importance of healthy eating and maintaining healthy weight
among South Asian women who are considering pregnancy.
knowledge, public health messaging regarding pre-pregnancy weight and diet
quality is not routinely provided by primary care physicians or public health
specialists, and requires an integrated approach involving primary health-care
sector and policy initiatives," said Anand.
In future, intervention
studies will be conducted to determine whether lowering pre-pregnancy weight
and optimizing diet quality during pregnancy can reduce the high rates of
gestational diabetes in this high-risk population.
The findings of
the study are published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)
diabetes is a complication that occurs during pregnancy. It affects how the
cells use glucose and result in high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes
can affect pregnancy and the baby's health. Babies born to mothers with
gestational diabetes have increased birth weight, higher body fat and lower
insulin sensitivity. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are more likely
to undergo a cesarean section.
The blood sugar
levels usually return to normal soon after the delivery. But, gestational
diabetes can increase the risk of type 2
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes can control blood
sugar levels by eating healthy foods and exercising.
Risk for the baby
Risk for the mother
- Excessive birth weight
- Preterm birth
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes later in life
Tips to Prevent
- Opt for foods that are high in fiber and low in fat. Include more
fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Exercising before and during pregnancy can lower the risk of
gestational diabetes. Engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a
- It is important to shed extra kilos for a
- Gestational Diabetes - (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/gestational)