Diabetes :: Gestational diabetes – pregnancy related diabetes rising

The proportion of U.S. women who develop diabetes during pregnancy — that is, gestational diabetes — appears to be increasing, which may be a reflection of the well-documented obesity epidemic, researchers from Denver report.

Dr. Dana Dabelea from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and colleagues examined trends in gestational diabetes in more than 36,000 ethnically diverse women who were members of the Kaiser Permanente of Colorado health plan. All gave birth to a single infant between 1994 and 2002.

The proportion of women with gestational diabetes doubled over that period, Dabelea’s group reports in the March issue of the medical journal Diabetes Care.

“The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus has been increasing over the past eight years” by about 12 percent each year, Dabelea told Reuters Health. The increase, she said, was similar among all racial and ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, African Americans and Asians.

“Moreover, women born more recently were at increased risk for gestational diabetes mellitus compared with women born earlier, probably reflecting an increased exposure to risk factors operating before childbearing years, such as obesity,” she said.

Dabelea pointed out that like type 2 diabetes and obesity, gestational diabetes is also increasing. “Future studies,” she added, “need to explore reasons for this increase as well as the effects of this increase on the future generations.”

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