Women who gained large amounts of weight after a diagnosis of gestational diabetes have a higher risk of birth complications, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge found expectant mothers who gained a lot of weight after diagnosis, during the later stages of pregnancy between 28 and 36 weeks, had a higher risk of complicated births and had more Caesarian sections.
These women also needed higher levels of insulin and had higher blood glucose levels after birth.
Those who were able to maintain a stable weight after diagnosis had better short- and long-term benefits, compared with those who gained weight.
They called for targets to help women maintain their weight after diagnosis.
The authors – consultant obstetrician Dr Catherine Aiken and consultant chemical pathologist Dr Claire Meek – looked at 546 women with gestational diabetes who gave birth in the UK between 2014 and 2017.
Dr Aiken said: ‘Although gestational diabetes is very common, there are no targets to help women manage their weight after diagnosis.
‘The results of this study suggest that keeping weight stable after diagnosis may be extremely beneficial for women and their babies.’
Diabetes UK’s director of research Dr Elizabeth Robertson said: ‘We know women with gestational diabetes can be at risk of serious pregnancy complications, so it’s very encouraging to see research showing that there are steps women can take to help them minimise these risks.’