Overweight women with moderately elevated blood sugar are at a higher pregnancy risk than their obese counterparts with normal blood sugar or those who have gestational diabetes but normal weight. One of the adverse outcomes is having large babies, the result of fat accumulation. Large babies increase the risk of injury to the baby during vaginal delivery, increasing the likelihood of a Caesarean section.
A pregnant woman’s higher blood sugar level and weight can also lead to higher insulin and lower blood sugar levels in a newborn. In turn, these effects may eventually trigger obesity and diabetes, perhaps as early as childhood, the journal Diabetes Care reports. ”We need to address the combination of overweight and blood sugar of these women as urgently as we do for women who are obese or have gestational diabetes,” said principle investigator Boyd Metzger, professor of endocrinology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The study, based on 23,316 women from nine countries, also found women who are both obese and have gestational diabetes are at a much higher risk of having an adverse pregnancy than women having only one of those conditions, according to a Northwestern statement. The study found when the mothers are obese and have gestational diabetes, the babies weigh 340 gram more than babies of mothers with normal weight and blood sugar.