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More than baby weight

August 20, 2009

pregnantWeight gain in first trimester can lay the frame for a healthy pregnancy, or a problem pregnancy. And while some weight gain is natural during this time, too much could cause a pre-diabetic condition in mothers, according to researchers at Temple’s Center for Obesity Research and Education.

Sharon Herring, an assistant professor of medicine and public health at Temple University, along with a team of Harvard researchers, looked at the blood glucose levels of 1960 women enrolled in the Project Viva birth cohort.  Women had their blood glucose levels and their weight taken in the second trimester of pregnancy.  Weight gain was calculated by comparing pre-pregnancy weight to weight taken at the blood glucose screen.

The researchers found that women who gained the most weight were also more likely to have impaired glucose tolerance in pregnancy, a pre-diabetic condition which can lead to a host of short- and long term problems for both mother and baby, including increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cesarean delivery, and high birth weight.

Sharon Herring, MD, MPH

Sharon Herring, MD, MPH

“Interventions are needed to encourage appropriate pregnancy weight gain and healthy behaviors,” said Herring, who is currently working on such a program for urban, low-income mothers in Philadelphia. “Our hope is that mothers who participate in this type of intervention will have improved health outcomes,” she said.

Herring’s study is published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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