Odds of developing gestational diabetes may be predicted up to seven years before pregnancy

Some women wish that they could foresee the future. However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology indicated that these females may be able to predict that they will develop gestational diabetes up to seven years before they even become pregnant.

How is this possible? Research has previously shown that women with elevated body mass index and high blood sugar levels have an increased risk of experiencing gestational diabetes. But the current study found that these factors coincided so closely with the actual odds of developing the condition that they can literally predict the onset of gestational diabetes long before conception.

The investigation involved 580 women who had given birth, some of whom had developed gestational diabetes and some who did not.

The study's results showed that participants with adverse levels of blood sugar and body weight had a nearly five-fold increased risk of gestational diabetes, compared to women with normal levels.

The investigators said that their findings indicate a need for women who have these risk factors to complete healthy lifestyle interventions before conception in order to reduce the odds of them or their children experiencing diabetes-related complications during delivery.

Lead researcher Monique Hedderson, PhD, said that it should not be difficult to identify women who are the most at-risk, since blood sugar tests and weight measurements are typically part of routine medical examinations.

The World Diabetes Foundation offers advice on what a healthy lifestyle should incorporate. Some of these practices include stress relief by relaxation or yoga, increased physical activity, tobacco and alcohol abstinence, limited consumption of saturated fats and simple sugars, and weight loss for individuals who are overweight.

Since it is likely that women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy will eventually develop type 2 diabetes, it may be in their best interest to take proactive measures that can help prevent both of these conditions.