Maternal obesity and diabetes in pregnancy result in early overgrowth of the baby in the womb
The babies of obese women who develop gestational diabetes are five times as likely to be excessively large by six months of pregnancy, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge. The study, which shows that excessive fetal growth begins weeks before at-risk women are screened for gestational diabetes, suggests that current screening programmes may take place too late during pregnancy to prevent lasting health impacts on the offspring.
Given the risk of complications for both mother and child from gestational diabetes, our findings suggest that screening women earlier on in pregnancy may help improve the short and long term outcomes for these women
Gestational diabetes is a condition that can affect women during pregnancy, with those who are obese at greater risk. As well as affecting the mother’s health, the condition also causes the unborn child to grow larger, putting the mother at risk during childbirth and increasing the likelihood that her offspring will develop obesity and diabetes during later life. The condition can usually be controlled through a combination of diet and exercise, and medication if these measures fail.
Women are screened for the condition through a blood glucose test at around 8-12 weeks into pregnancy. Current guidelines in the UK and the USA recommend that mothers found to be at greatest risk should then be offered a full test at between 24 and 28 weeks into pregnancy; however, in practice the majority of women are screened at the 28 week mark.
Researchers at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Camb Continue reading