Eating habits change only slightly after gestational diabetes diagnosis, IRP study suggests

Pregnant women made only modest dietary changes after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Women with gestational diabetes are generally advised to reduce their carbohydrate intake, and the women in the study did cut their daily intake of juice and added sugars. They also increased their intake of cheese and artificially sweetened beverages. However, certain groups of women did not reduce their carbohydrate intake, including women with obesity, had more than one child, were Hispanic, had a high school degree or less, or were between the ages of 35-41 years.

The study was led by Stefanie N. Hinkle, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The study appears in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Patients with gestational (or pregnancy-related) diabetes have a higher risk of maternal high blood pressure, larger babies, cesarean delivery, low blood sugar in newborns, and development of chronic diabetes later in life.

“The improvements in diet that we observed were not equitable across all groups of women,” said Dr. Hinkle. “This research highlights the importance of creating individualized programs to ensure that all women with gestational diabetes are successful at modifying their diet and optimizing their health.”

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022