Obese women with gestational diabetes are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they continue to put on weight after giving birth, a study finds.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, affecting up to 18 out of 100 women in England and Wales. The complication develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin during pregnancy.
The research was conducted at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the US National Institutes of Health, United States.
They analysed 1,695 women with gestational diabetes from 1991 to 2001 and noted 259 cases of type 2 diabetes during a follow-up period of 18 years.
Increased type 2 risk
Researchers concluded that each 5kg increase in weight following the development of gestational diabetes was linked to a 27 per cent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, obese women with gestational diabetes (with a BMI of 30 or over) are 43 per cent more likely to develop type 2 than women with a BMI of 25 or less before pregnancy, who then gain 5kg or less.
“This research underlines the need for women to start their pregnancy in optimal health at a healthy weight and to maintain this during and after their pregnancy,” said Janet Fyle, professional policy advisor at the Royal College of Midwives.
The authors concluded: “Our findings provide evidence to support the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in these high-risk women to prevent future development of type 2 diabetes.”
The results of the study were published in the journal Diabetologia.

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