Improving outcomes in gestational diabetes: does gestational weight gain matter?

Catherine E. M. Aiken, Luke Hone, Helen R. Murphy (Lead Author), Claire L. Meek

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25 Citations (Scopus)
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Aim: Excessive gestational weight gain increases risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) but it remains unclear whether weight control after GDM diagnosis improves outcomes. We assessed whether: (1) total gestational weight gain during pregnancy (0–36 weeks); (2) early gestational weight gain (0–28 weeks, before GDM diagnosis); or (3) late gestational weight gain (28–36 weeks, after diagnosis) are associated with maternal–fetal outcomes. 
Methods: Some 546 women with GDM who delivered viable singleton infants at a single UK obstetric centre (October 2014 to March 2017) were included in this retrospective observational study. 
Results: Higher total gestational weight gain was associated with Caesarean section [n = 376; odds ratio (OR) 1.05; confidence intervals (CI) 1.02–1.08, P < 0.001] and large for gestational age (OR 1.08; CI 1.03–1.12, P < 0.001). Higher late gestational weight gain (28–36 weeks; n = 144) was associated with large for gestational age (OR 1.17; CI 1.01–1.37, P < 0.05), instrumental deliveries (OR 1.26; CI 1.03–1.55, P < 0.01), higher total daily insulin doses (36 weeks; beta coefficient 4.37; CI 1.92–6.82, P < 0.001), and higher post‐partum 2‐h oral glucose tolerance test concentrations (beta coefficient 0.12; CI 0.01–0.22, P < 0.05). Women who avoided substantial weight gain after GDM diagnosis had 0.7 mmol/l lower postnatal 2‐h glucose and needed half the amount of insulin/day at 36 weeks compared with women with substantial weight gain after diagnosis. There were no significant associations between early gestational weight gain (0–28 weeks) and pregnancy outcomes. 
Conclusions: These findings suggest that controlling gestational weight gain should be a priority following GDM diagnosis to optimize pregnancy outcomes and improve maternal postnatal glucose homeostasis. The period after diagnosis of GDM (often 28 weeks gestation) is not too late to offer lifestyle advice or intervention to improve weight management and pregnancy outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetic Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date22 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Gestational Diabetes
  • Diabetes type 2
  • gestational weight gain
  • maternal obesity
  • Pregnancy

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