Research from Toronto, Canada shows that increased risks for type 2 diabetes and heart disease become noticeable within a year of giving birth if mothers are not able to lose weight within this period.
The researchers monitored 305 patients for 12 months following giving birth and carried out a number of tests to measure blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, insulin resistance and weight gain or loss. 225 of these patients, around three quarters, lost some of their baby weight, whilst the remaining quarter gained weight over the next 12 months.
The results of the study showed that the mothers that gained weight within the first year of pregnancy had distinct increases in levels of blood pressure, LDL cholesterol (the so called bad cholesterol) and insulin resistance, raising risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It should be noted that the majority of women, over 80%, had gained weight after three months but those that went on to lose weight at the 12 months stage recorded healthy metabolic measurements.
Dr Ravi Retnakara, endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, and one of the study’s authors commented on the results, saying: “That means that the nine-month window leading up to one year after birth is a critical time for women to ensure that they are losing at least some of their pregnancy weight.”
Researchers from the Mount Sinai Hospital are keen to follow up the study by monitoring mothers for 2 to 3 years after the birth to investigate how body weight affects metabolic risk factors over a longer time period.

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