OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Cardio-metabolic risk factors such as high blood sugar and insulin, and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol that are present before pregnancy, predict whether a woman will develop diabetes during a future pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The study suggests that metabolic screening of all women before pregnancy, particularly overweight women, could help identify those more likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus, known as GDM, in a subsequent pregnancy and help them take preventive steps prior to conception.
Women who develop GDM during pregnancy are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, previous research has shown. GDM is defined as glucose intolerance that typically occurs during the second or third trimester and causes complications in as much as 7 percent of pregnancies in the United States. It can lead to early delivery and Cesarean sections and increases the baby's risk of developing diabetes, obesity and metabolic disease later in life.
The study is among the first to measure cardio-metabolic risk factors before pregnancy in women 18-30 years of age without diabetes who later became pregnant and reported whether they had developed GDM. The research provides evidence to support pre-conception care for healthy pregnancies as noted in a 2006 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That report suggested that risk factors for adverse outcomes among women and infants can be identified prior to conception and are characterized by the need to start, and sometimes finish, interventions before conception occurs.
"Our study suggests that women may benefit from a focus on care before conception that would encourage screening for metabolic abnormalities before pregnancy, rather than only during pregnancy. Because weight loss is not advised, and the medicatio