Eating for Two? Pregnant Women Should Think Twice

Gestational diabetes a risk of excessive weight gain

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A doctor examines a woman who is expecting a baby.

    If you're a mom-to-be who's taking extra meals because you're eating for two, you may want to rethink that strategy.

    Kaiser Permanente researchers studied 1,1145 pregnant women in Northern California and found women who gained an excessive amount of weight during their first trimester had a 50 percent increased risk of gestational diabetes, a condition which can threaten both mother and child.

    Dr. Susan Smarr, an ob/gyn at Kaiser Santa Clara, said women who gained a little more than half a pound a week during their first trimester had a higher risk of gestational diabetes.

    "The thought is the pancrease, where the insulin is made, is overburdened by the early increase in weight gain," said Dr. Smarr. The upper limit is 6 to 7 pounds.

    Gestational diabetes is defined as glucose intolerance that typically occurs during the second or third trimester of pregnancy. It causes complications in as much as 7 percent of pregnancies in the United States. It can lead to early delivery, C-sections, and type 2 diabetes in the mother. It can also increase a child's risk of developing diabetes and obesity later in lilfe.

    The study is among the first to support a direct link between pregnancy weight gain and gestational diabetes risk.