Kaiser Permanente Logo Many women apparently develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) while expecting a baby. Well, a novel Kaiser Permanente study now asserts that a woman’s risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified up to seven years before she becomes pregnant by routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and body weight. Predicting the risk can supposedly help avoid GDM and its associated threats.

During the study, 580 ethnically diverse women who took part in a multiphasic health checkup at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between 1984 and 1996 were thoroughly analyzed. Women who had a subsequent pregnancy were then compared with those who developed GDM during pregnancy and women who did not have GDM. It was pointed out that the chances of developing GDM seemingly elevates directly with the number of adverse risk factors usually linked with diabetes and heart disease present before pregnancy.

“Our study indicates that a woman’s cardio-metabolic risk profile for factors routinely assessed at medical visits such as blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight can help clinicians identify high-risk women to target for primary prevention or early management of GDM,” commented lead author Monique Hedderson, PhD,a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

Adverse levels of blood sugar and body weight were probably associated with a 4.6-fold increased risk of GDM in comparison to women with normal levels. The study findings allegedly proffer a better understanding of pre-pregnancy predictors of GDM that may help identify women at risk. Those under a threat of GDM can be purportedly subjected to intervention programs before pregnancy to prevent GDM and its associated risks.

The study is published in the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.