Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pre-pregnancy lifestyle impacts gestational diabetes risk

Most women during pregnancy try to do everything perfect for their unborn child; they sleep more, eat healthy food, take prenatal vitamins, and they stay away from anything that could be harmful like tobacco and alcohol. Recent studies have proved that your lifestyle before becoming pregnant can be as important as your lifestyle during pregnancy. 

A woman’s lifestyle before pregnancy can affect whether or not she could develop diabetes during pregnancy.  

The Chicago Tribune reports:
"Healthy eating, regular exercise, healthy weight and no history of smoking before pregnancy were each powerfully linked to whether women would develop "gestational diabetes," according to a new U.S. study.

Women with all four healthy lifestyle factors before becoming pregnant were more than 80 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes than those with none of them, researchers found.

Dr. Cuilin Zhang, the study's lead author from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland said that a healthy diet is essential in pre-pregnant women to reduce the risk of gestinational diabetes. “A healthful diet was one higher in intakes of vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids and long chain omega-3 fatty acids and lower in intakes of red and processed meats, sugar sweetened beverages, trans fats and sodium” said Zhang.

For instance, being a non-smoker, getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week and maintaining a healthy diet was associated with a 41 percent lower risk of gestational diabetes, as compared with all other pregnancies. Another factor to look at is the BMI of the women.  A healthy BMI is that of 25 of below.  You can calculate your BMI here with this online calculator. 

The study cannot prove that lifestyle factors do or do not cause diabetes directly because it is based only on observations, the researchers note in their report in the journal BMJ.

The results are also limited by the fact that most of the study population was white, and obesity rates were lower than in the general population, they add, so the findings may not apply more broadly. "

This article was summarized using information from the Chicago Tribune which can be found here
SOURCE: BMJ, online September 30, 2014.

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