Early Pregnancy Weight Gain Ups Diabetes Risk
Study Shows Excessive Weight Gain in First Trimester Linked to Gestational Diabetes Risk
WebMD News Archive
Feb. 22, 2010 -- Women who gain more weight than is recommended
early in pregnancy have an increased risk
for developing gestational diabetes later on, a
Excess weight gain, especially in the first trimester, increased
gestational diabetes risk by about 50%
among the women included in the study.
And overweight women who gained the
most weight in their first and second trimesters were twice as likely to
develop gestational diabetes later in pregnancy as
overweight women who gained the least weight.
Obesity is a well-known risk factor for gestational diabetes, which occurs
in up to 7% of pregnancies in the U.S.
But the study is among the first to link weight gain early in pregnancy to
The study was conducted by the research arm of the California-based managed
care group Kaiser Permanente. It appears in the March issue of Obstetrics
"There has been a dramatic rise in gestational diabetes within the past
decade," study researcher Monique M. Hedderson, PhD, tells WebMD. "Women who
develop gestational diabetes are more likely to have preterm deliveries and
C-sections. And even after delivery they are at increased risk for developing
type 2 diabetes."
Babies born to women with gestational diabetes also have an increased risk
for obesity and diabetes during childhood.
Minority Women Most at Risk
The three-year study included 1,145 women living in northern California who
were followed throughout their pregnancies.
Weight gains were measured in the first trimester and again prior to
screening for gestational diabetes, which typically occurred in the 24th to
28th week of pregnancy.
Actual weight gains were compared to recommended weight gains published by
the health policy group the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in May of last
These guidelines call for weight gains of between 1.1 pounds and 4.4 pounds
in the first trimester of pregnancy, regardless of weight at the beginning of
According to the IOM, normal-weight women should gain between 25 and 35
pounds during pregnancy, while overweight women should gain 15 to 25 pounds and
obese women should gain 11 to 20 pounds.