Women With Gestational Diabetes Fail To Alter Their Lifestyle

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Gestational (or pregnancy-related) diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of maternal high blood pressure, larger babies, cesarean delivery, low blood sugar in newborns, and development of chronic diabetes later in life.

‘Eating habits change only slightly after a gestational diabetes diagnosis. These findings thereby highlight the disparities by race/ethnicity, education level, age, and obesity status, and hence further research is required to identify innovative approaches that are more effective in changing nutrition and exercise-related behaviors.’

“The improvements in diet that we observed were not equitable across all groups of women. This research highlights the importance of creating individualized programs to ensure that all women with gestational diabetes are successful at modifying their diet and optimizing their health,” says Dr. Stefanie N. Hinkle, Lead author, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Gestational diabetes and Diet Patterns

The study team analyzed an existing set of data from the NICHD Fetal Growth Studies, which included surveys on diet and exercise from a diverse group of women at 12 hospital centers across the country.

Almost 1,371 women were analyzed based on their diet, of which 72 had gestational diabetes. The study team also examined exercise routines among 1,875 women, of which 84 had gestational diabetes.

It was found that women with gestational diabetes limited their daily carbohydrate intake by 48 grams primarily by reducing their juice consumption by about 0.4 cups per day and reducing their added sugar consumption by about 3.2 teaspoons per day.

However, their consumption of cheese increased by 0.3 cups per day and artificially sweetened beverages increased by 0.2 cups per day. In addition, the team found that women with gestational diabetes did not reduce their consumption of whole grains or whole fruit, nor did they compensate for their dietary changes by increasing saturated fats.

These findings suggest that although the complex carbohydrates from whole grains or fruits may be beneficial for gestational diabetes, saturated fats can worsen health outcomes by promoting excessive fetal growth. The women with gestational diabetes were also found to have maintained the same amount of time in moderate or vigorous exercises into their third trimester.

However, women who did not have gestational diabetes reduced their moderate exercise activities during their third trimester by approximately 20 minutes per week and their vigorous exercise by approximately 9 minutes per week.

The present findings reveal that healthcare providers still have many opportunities to help women with gestational diabetes make greater gains and changes in diet and exercise. Hence further research is required to identify innovative approaches that are more effective in changing nutrition and exercise-related behaviors.

Source: Medindia

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