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Gestational diabetes can be avoided in high risk women

Posted:  Monday, August 10, 2015

A simple counselling based intervention does the job! A recent study (Finnish gestational diabetes prevention study - RADIEL) has been able to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in high-risk pregnant women through individualised lifestyle intervention.

The study involved 293 pregnant women at less than 20 weeks of gestation with a history of GDM or a pre-pregnancy body mass index > 30 kg/m2. The women were randomly assigned to the intervention and control groups. Individualised counselling on diet, physical activity and weight control and a group session with a dietician were made available to the intervention group whereas standard antenatal care was provided to the control group.

The women were tested for GDM at 24–28 weeks of gestation and the results showed that the incidence of GDM in the intervention and control groups was 13.9% and 21.6% respectively. The researchers found that the risk of gestational diabetes in high-risk pregnant women went down by 39% through the intervention. They also found that compared with the control group, women in the intervention group improved on leisure time physical activity and dietary quality and gained lesser weight during pregnancy.

Discussing the findings Dr. Saila Koivusalo from Helsinki University Hospital said, "One possible explanation for these excellent results is the high-risk status of the women recruited to the RADIEL study. In several previous lifestyle intervention studies the women recruited were only at a modest risk to develop GDM, or consisted of a heterogeneous group of women."

This study has yielded promising results, and the researchers hope for positives outcomes from a follow up study in terms of long-term health of mother and infant. Pregnancy is an extremely important period for implementing lifestyle changes benefiting both mother and offspring, for which ‘individualised’ counselling is the key.

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