How diabetic women's pregnancy chances can be boosted

Watching what you eat, exercising properly and ensuring adequate nutrition with a vitamin supplement which has adequate amounts of folic acid may improve chances of conception in diabetic women.

Women with diabetes face a special challenge-getting and then staying pregnant. Poor glucose control may create an environment where the high sugars prevent both conceiving as well as maintaining the pregnancy, Diabetic Living India reported.

Women who develop diabetes can be prone to developing other disorders such as thyroid disease or autoimmune premature ovarian failure.

Miscarriage rates among women with poorly controlled diabetes can be as high as 30 to 60 percent during that crucial first trimester of pregnancy. The risk of birth defects is also high, and also stems from uncontrolled blood sugar levels around the time of conception.

A baby’s brain, heart, kidneys and lungs form during the first eight weeks of pregnancy, therefore high blood glucose levels are especially harmful during this early stage.

The main diabetes complication, including gestational diabetes, related to pregnancy is macrosomia – or a big baby (higher than the 90th percentile in birth weight).

Women with Type 1 diabetes will require insulin before, during and after their pregnancy.

However, if a woman has type 2 diabetes then she will require oral medications with or without insulin to achieve appropriate control of your diabetes.

In order to enhance chances of delivering a healthy baby, diabetic women should work with health care team to get their blood glucose under control before getting pregnant.

Targeting Weight Gain in Pregnancy to Reduce Childhood Obesity …

Targeting Weight Gain in Pregnancy to Reduce Childhood Obesity A new study suggests pregnancy may be an especially important time to prevent obesity in children.

Investigators followed 41,133 mothers and their children in Arkansas and discovered that high pregnancy weight gain increases the risk of obesity in those children through age 12.

The findings, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, suggest pregnancy may be an especially important time to prevent obesity in the next generation.

“From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic,” said the study’s senior author, David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D.

Childhood obesity is especially worrisome as the condition is harmful in many ways including an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing and sleep issues. Obese kids are also more likely to be obese adults.

“Pregnancy presents an attractive target for obesity prevention programs, because women tend to be particularly motivated to change behavior during this time,” said Ludwig.

Researchers have previously observed a familial tendency toward obesity. Children with mothers who are obese, or gain too much weight during pregnancy, are more likely to be obese themselves.

However, this relationship may be due to associated factors such as shared genes, common environmental influences and socioeconomic and demographic considerations, rather than any direct biological effects of maternal over-nutrition.

Ludwig, together with coauthors Janet Currie, Ph.D., and Heather Rouse, Ph.D., used a novel study design to examine other causes of childhood obesity.

They linked the birth records of mothers with two or more children to school records that included the child’s body mass index (BMI) at an average age of 11.9 years, and then made statistical comparisons between siblings.

Researchers comparing siblings to minimize the influence of outside factors because on average, siblings have the same relative distribution of obesity genes, the same home environment and same socioeconomic and demographic influences.

The current study extends results of an earlier study that Ludwig led, which showed that excessive weight gain in pregnancy increased the birth weight of the infant.

The effect of maternal weight gain apparently continues through childhood and accounts for half a BMI unit, or about 2 to 3 lbs., between children of women with the least to the most pregnancy weight gain.

“Excessive pregnancy weight gain may make a significant contribution to the obesity epidemic,” said Ludwig. “Children born to women who gained excessive amounts of weight, 40 pounds or more, during pregnancy had an 8 percent increased risk of obesity.”

This risk, though relatively small on an individual basis, could translate into several hundred thousand cases of excess childhood obesity worldwide each year.

Source: Boston Children’s Hospital

Pregnant woman sitting on a couch photo by shutterstock.

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Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity | WebProNews

Pregnancy Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity

Though recent data has shown that childhood obesity numbers are falling in a number of U.S. states, health officials in the country are still referring to obesity as an epidemic. This week, a new study has shown that expectant mothers may have more direct, biological influence on the size of their children than previously thought.

The study, published Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine, shows that high weight gain during pregnancy is directly linked to an increased risk of obesity for the children up until age 12. The study’s authors believe that helping women limit their weight gain during pregnancy could have an impact on the fight against obesity in the U.S.

“From the public health perspective, excessive weight gain during pregnancy may have a potentially significant influence on propagation of the obesity epidemic,” said Dr. David Ludwig, lead author of the study and the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Obesity Prevention Center. “Pregnancy presents an attractive target for obesity prevention programs, because women tend to be particularly motivated to change behavior during this time,”

The study looked at 41,133 mothers and children in the state of Arkansas over 12 years, cross-referencing birth records and school BMI records. Statistical comparisons were then made between siblings, ruling out demographic, genetic, and environmental influences. Excessive weight gain in the study was defines as 40 or more pounds, which correlated to an 8% increase in the risk of a child being obese.

Though the difference in BMI from mothers who gained the least weight during pregnancy to those who gained the most is only one-half of a BMI unit, Ludwig and his colleagues believe this effect could contribute to hundreds of thousands of obesity cases nationwide.

Five meals a day prevents youth obesity | Yle Uutiset |


A new 5-a-day rule seems to be in the offing.

Image: Arja Lento / Yle

Master of Health Sciences Anne Jääskeläinen’s doctoral research shows that a regular five meal rhythm on weekdays protects against overweight and obesity in young people – as well as in infants who might be prone to overly padded waistlines.

According to the study, even those who are genetically more susceptible to weight gain will not pack on more kilos than their more genetically fortunate peers if they stick to the five a day rule.

The results also show that if a father was overweight before the mother’s pregnancy, the risk factors are almost the same as if the mother was overweight before the pregnancy began – for both girls and boys. In addition, mothers who packed on the pounds at the start of their pregnancy increased the risk of continuing the trend in their offspring.

The study brings new information on early risk factors associated with young Finns at risk of overweight and obesity.

Spotlight on obesity | News | News and events

Health problems linked to obesity, like heart disease and diabetes, could skip an entire generation, a study suggests.

Researchers have found that the offspring of obese mothers may be spared health problems linked to obesity, while their own children then inherit them.

Obesity epidemic

Currently, concern about the obesity epidemic is mainly focused on the health of obese women and their children, rather than the wider family.

The University study has shown that moderately obese mothers can make an impact on the birth weight and diabetes risk of grandchildren, in the apparent absence of effects in their own children.

Experts say that rates of obesity are at an all-time high.

Among the associated health problems are breast and colon cancer and stroke. Moderate obesity is a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 30 and 34.9.

Studying mice

The study, carried out in mice, could help inform health policy on obesity.

Scientists studied moderately obese female mice fed on a diet high in fat and sugar before and during pregnancy. The mice were found to pass on the risks of obesity to the second generation of offspring, while virtually no ill effects were seen in the first generation.

Reasons why the first generation is apparently protected are not fully understood. Researchers suggest that reasons could include differences in maternal weight gain during pregnancy or specific food eaten during pregnancy.

They add that studying effects of this kind – referred to as developmental programming – in humans, could be challenging but possible.

The study, published in Endocrinology, was supported by Tommy’s, a baby charity that funds research into pregnancy health, the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council.

Given the worldwide increase in obesity, it is vital that we gain an understanding of how future generations may be affected. Future studies could look at these trends in humans but they would need to take into account genetics, environmental, social and cultural factors.

Dr Amanda Drake

University of Edinburgh Senior Clinical Research Fellow

This article was published on Jun 4, 2013

Weight Loss Surgery Can Break Obesity Cycle

baby in a crib


WASHINGTON (AP) — Obese mothers tend to have kids who become obese. Now provocative research suggests weight-loss surgery may help break that unhealthy cycle in an unexpected way — by affecting how their children’s genes behave.

In a first-of-a-kind study, Canadian researchers tested children born to obese women, plus their brothers and sisters who were conceived after the mother had obesity surgery. Youngsters born after mom lost lots of weight were slimmer than their siblings. They also had fewer risk factors for diabetes or heart disease later in life.

More intriguing, the researchers discovered that numerous genes linked to obesity-related health problems worked differently in the younger siblings than in their older brothers and sisters.

Clearly diet and exercise play a huge role in how fit the younger siblings will continue to be, and it’s a small study. But the findings suggest the children born after mom’s surgery might have an advantage.

“The impact on the genes, you will see the impact for the rest of your life,” predicted Dr. Marie-Claude Vohl of Laval University in Quebec City. She helped lead the work reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Why would there be a difference? It’s not that mom passed on different genes, but how those genes operate in her child’s body. The idea: Factors inside the womb seem to affect the dimmer switches that develop on a fetus’ genes — chemical changes that make genes speed up or slow down or switch on and off. That in turn can greatly influence health.

The sibling study is “a very clever way of looking at this,” said Dr. Susan Murphy of Duke University. She wasn’t involved in the Canadian research but studies uterine effects on later health. She says it makes biological sense that the earliest nutritional environment could affect a developing metabolism, although she cautions that healthier family habits after mom’s surgery may play a role, too.

It’s the latest evidence that the environment — in this case the womb — can alter how our genes work.

And the research has implications far beyond the relatively few women who take the drastic step of gastric bypass surgery before having a baby. Increasingly, scientists are hunting other ways to tackle obesity before or during pregnancy in hopes of a lasting benefit for both mother and baby.

What’s clear is that obesity is “not just impacting your life, it’s impacting your child,” Duke’s Murphy said.

More than half of pregnant women are overweight or obese, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. But it’s not just a matter of how much moms weigh when they conceive — doctors also are trying to stamp out the idea of eating for two. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy increases the child’s risk of eventually developing obesity and diabetes, too.

What’s too much? Women who are normal weight at the start of pregnancy are supposed to gain 25 to 35 pounds. Those who already are obese should gain no more than 11 to 20 pounds. Overweight mothers-to-be fall in the middle.

Sticking to those guidelines can be tough. The National Institutes of Health just began a five-year, $30 million project to help overweight or obese pregnant women do so, and track how their babies fare in the first year of life.

Called the LIFE-Moms Consortium, researchers are recruiting about 2,000 expectant mothers for seven studies around the country that are testing different approaches to a healthy weight gain and better nutritional quality. They range from putting pregnant women on meal plans and exercise programs, to weekly monitoring, to peer pressure from fellow parents trained to bring nutrition advice into the homes of low-income mothers-to-be.

It’s best to get to a healthy weight before conceiving, noted Dr. Mary Evans of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, who oversees the project.

Just how much mom has to lose for a healthier baby is “obviously a research gap,” she said.

Monday’s research findings from Canada may shed some new light. Consider: Overweight mothers have higher levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream, which in turn makes it to the womb.

Fetuses are “marinated, and they’re differently marinated” depending on mom’s weight and health, said Dr. John Kral of New York’s SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who co-authored the Canadian study.

That may do more than overstimulate fetal growth. Scientists know that certain molecules regulate gene activity, attaching like chemical tags. That’s what Laval University lead researcher Dr. Frederic Guenard was looking for in blood tests. He took samples from children born to 20 women before and after complex surgery that shrank their stomachs and rerouted digestion so they absorb less fat and calories. On average, they lost about 100 pounds.

Guenard compared differences in those chemical tags in more than 5,600 genes between the younger and older siblings. He found significant differences in the activity of certain genes clustered in pathways known to affect blood sugar metabolism and heart disease risk.

Only time will tell if these youngsters born after mom’s surgery really get lasting benefits, whatever the reason. Meanwhile, specialists urge women planning a pregnancy to talk with their doctors about their weight ahead of time. Besides having potential long-term consequences, extra pounds can lead to a variety of immediate complications such as an increased risk of premature birth and cesarean sections.

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Diabetes: Tips to Avoid Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnant women

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as the diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is one of the most common health problems faced by pregnant women and usually develops in the middle of the pregnancy, between the 24th and 28th weeks when hormones interfere with the mother’s ability to use insulin. As the pregnancy progresses, the insulin resistance worsens and blood sugar levels increase further.

There are many risks associated with diabetes during and after pregnancy for both the mother and child. The risk of Cesarean section, pre-eclampsia and perineal trauma is increased for the mother during pregnancy.

“Diabetes mellitus may be effectively managed by appropriate meal planning, increased physical activity and properly-instituted insulin treatment”, points Dr Rajiv Kovil, MBBS (Mumbai), Consultant Diabetologist.

Tips for controlling diabetes during pregnancy include:

•    Meals – cut down sweets, eats three small meals and one to three snacks a day, maintain proper mealtimes, and include balanced fiber intake in the form of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.

•    Increased physical activity
– walking, swimming/aquaerobics, etc.

•    Monitor blood sugar level frequently
, doctors may ask to check the blood glucose more often than usual.

•    The blood sugar level should be below 95 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/l) on awakening, below 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/l) one hour after a meal and below 120 mg/dl (6.7 mmol/l) two hours after a meal.

•    Each time when checking the blood sugar level, keep a proper record of the results and present to the health care team for evaluation and modification of the treatment. If blood sugar levels are above targets, a perinatal diabetes management team may suggest ways to achieve targets.

•    Many may need extra insulin during pregnancy to reach their blood sugar target. Insulin is not harmful for the baby.
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

Salma Hayek's Diabetic Pregnancy Problems

Salma Hayek before her pregnancy and diabetes problems

Salma Hayek is one of Mexico’s finest movie exports and quickly became a sensation. Born in Veracruz in 1966 and raised by a wealthy family, her parents were shocked when she opted to drop out of university in Mexico to pursue an acting career.

Hayek exploded onto the international stage with her role in 1995’s ‘Desperado’, playing the love interest of the nameless protagonist portrayed by Antonio Banderas. Further success in movies such as ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’, ‘Fools Rush In’, ‘Dogma’ and ‘Bandidas’ with good friend Penelope Cruz followed and she established herself as one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses.

Thos previously menti0oned popularist titles elevated her to household name status but perhaps Salma’s defining moment was her portrayal of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in the move ‘Frida’. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nod and although she didn’t win the Oscar for best actress, the movie did go on to claim two awards.

Despite her many great accomplishments in the film industry Hayek‘sproudest moment was giving birth to daughter Valentina in September 2007, especially after complications developed during her pregnancy. When Salma was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she admits she had no idea what it meant or what she should do about it.

Salma Hayek's weight gain during pregnancy was caused by diabetes

In an interview with U.S. Glamor magazine, Hayek said: “I had diabetes while I was pregnant.

I became huge.

And I said: ‘This is what it takes for me to have this baby, and I really want it.’”

She was aware of the risks involved for her unborn baby but she wanted to have her child so much that she took the chance.

You don’t know it it’s going to be healthy – you are completely out of control.”

Salma Hayek with her baby daughter

Fortunately her daughter was born healthy and Hayek felt the whole experience was incredibly humbling.

Her family has a history of diabetes and she was unlucky to develop the illness as well. Women are usually tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks into their pregnancy. Women who have a family of history of diabetes are usually tested earlier.

What is a stillbirth?

Stillbirth is when a baby is born after the 24th week of pregnancy without showing any signs of life.

If the death occurs in the womb, it is called intra-uterine and if it happens during labour it is know as intra-partum. If the baby dies in the womb, labour is induced. A baby dying before the 24th week is known as a miscarriage.

What causes it?

The exact causes of a stillbirth often remain unclear, although one sixth are thought to result from an abnormality present at birth or other complications during pregnancy such as pre-eclampsia. Other possible causes and risk factors include:

  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of stillbirth

    Smoking while pregnant

  • Infection during pregnancy, such as listeriosis
  • The mother being under the age of 20 or over the age of 40
  • The mother being obese
  • Poor growth in the womb
  • Birth trauma – if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, for example
  • Pre-existing health problems in the mother such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • A problem with the placenta (when it separates from the womb too early)
  • A physical defect with the baby (possibly genetic)

How does it happen?

Many stillbirths are preceded by growth restrictions or reduced movement of the baby over a period of 24 hours. Some women suddenly go into labour.

When a stillbirth has been established, labour is usually induced. A Caserean section is not recommended due to the high risk of bleeding.

[adsense]What happens next?

Most women opt to hold their baby and some have a photo taken to help them come to terms with the death. Parents can then choose whether or not to have a post-mortem conducted, the results of which may or may not explain why the baby died. If it does, however, it may go a long way in helping to prevent the same thing from happening during a future pregnancy.

For this purpose, the mother may also choose to have her placenta examined or have a blood test to determine whether or not she has an underlying condition, such as the autoimmune disease lupus, which could have caused the stillbirth.

Grieving for a stillborn child is very difficult and parents often choose to have therapy to help them deal with the death.

Click here to read about what happens during an ectopic pregnancy, morning sickness and stretch marks.

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Morning sickness

Morning sickness, also known as nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, is a normal part of pregnancy and does not put the baby at any risk.

During early pregnancy, as many as half of all women experience vomiting and around 3 in 10 experience nausea without vomiting. Morning sickness usually goes away after the first 3 months of pregnancy but around 1 in 10 women continues to have it for up to their 20th week.

What causes it?

The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown, but a few have been suggested over the years. These include:

  • Oestrogen increase – a rise in the female sex hormone can cause short-term nausea and vomiting. Oestrogen levels are highest in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when symptoms are most prevelant.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels – this hormone rises rapidly during early pregnancy. Nausea often peaks around the same time as the levels of HCG. Conditions in which women have higher levels of the hormone, such as carrying more than one baby, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting.
  • Nutritional deficiency – a diet lacking in vitamin B6 has also been named a likely cause. Foods which contain this vitamin include bread, cereals, potatoes, milk and peanuts.
  • An enhanced sense of smell – it is not uncommon for women in early pregnancy to have strong reactions to certain smells, some of which automatically trigger a gag reflex.
  • Gastrointestinal problems – some research suggests that women with a stomach bacterium called helicobacter pylori are more likely to have severe or long-lasting nausea and vomiting. Also, during pregnancy, the body produces more of progesterone to protect the womb. Increased levels of this hormone cause decreased movement in the oesophagus, small intestine and stomach.

Around half of all pregnant women experience morning sickness

What are the risk factors?

There is no sure way of knowing whether or not a woman will have morning sickness during her pregnancy, but there are a few known risk factors, including:

  • A previous pregnancy with morning sickness
  • If the mother is young
  • If it is a first pregnancy
  • If the foetus is female
  • A history of motion sickness
  • A history of using oestrogen-based contraceptives and experiencing nausea
  • Carrying multiples, such as twins
  • Stress
  • Obesity

How is it treated?

In most cases, morning sickness is treated by making some dietary and lifestyle changes, which may involve:

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Drinking little and often
  • Eating small, regular meals high in carbohydrate and low in fat
  • Eating cold rather than hot meals (to minimise smell)
  • Wearing comfortable clothes
  • Taking ginger supplements

In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe medication, designed to reduce both nausea and vomiting.

The risk of morning sickness is increased if the foetus is a girl

When should I seek help?

Sometimes morning sickness can be mistaken for a more serious underlying condition, such as urinary tract infection or appendicitis. It is important to seek immediate medical help if any of the following symptoms arise:

  • Very dark-coloured urine or not passing urine for over eight hours
  • Fever
  • Vomiting blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe weakness
  • Racing heart
  • Inability to keep fluids down for 24 hours

Click here to read about pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancies, stretch marks and what happens during a miscarriage.

Images: davhor and danox on Flikr