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Epidemiology. 2004 Nov;15(6):733-7.

Weight change and the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women.

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  • 1University of Washington, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, Seattle, Washington, USA.



Obesity is an established risk factor for gestational diabetes. It is not known whether this risk might be reduced through weight loss between pregnancies. We sought to determine whether weight loss between pregnancies reduced the risk of gestational diabetes among obese women.


We conducted a population-based cohort study of 4102 women with 2 or more singleton live births in Washington State between 1992 and 1998. All subjects were nondiabetic and obese (at least 200 lbs) at their first birth during these years. Weight change was calculated as the difference between prepregnancy weight for the 2 pregnancies. We estimated relative risks of gestational diabetes at the subsequent delivery through stratified analyses and Mantel-Haenszel estimates.


Thirty-two percent of women lost weight between pregnancies, with a mean weight loss of 23 lbs. Women who lost at least 10 lbs between pregnancies had a decreased risk of gestational diabetes relative to women whose weight changed by less than 10 lbs (relative risk = 0.63; 95% confidence interval = 0.38-1.02, adjusted for age and weight gain during each pregnancy). Of the 61% of women who gained weight between pregnancies, the mean weight gain was 22 lbs. Women who gained at least 10 lbs had an increased risk of gestational diabetes (1.47; 1.05-2.04).


Even moderate changes in prepregnancy weight can apparently affect the risk of gestational diabetes among obese women. This may offer further motivation for interventions aimed at reducing obesity among women of reproductive age.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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