Does Your Waist Size Point Towards Gestational Diabetes?

waist-sizeGestational diabetes can result in important complications during pregnancy. In worst cases, it can lead to severe abnormalities in the child and even death in the womb. A very common effect of gestational diabetes is an alteration in the size of the baby. Because of higher levels of glucose in the blood, the fetus can grow to be too large. If that is coupled with prematurity, it can be devastating to the baby’s system.

Gestational diabetes usually presents itself after the first half of the pregnancy, typically in the third trimester. A good way for doctors to predict a propensity for gestational diabetes is by looking at the patient’s body mass index or BMI. However, studies have shown that there is a closer association between abdominal obesity and high measurements of triglycerides in the blood in the first part of the pregnancy, with raised levels of glucose in the blood in the third trimester.

A study attempting to find an approximation between this correlation took place recently. Twelve dozen Caucasian women in the first trimester underwent testing for triglyceride levels in the blood. Their waist measurements were also taken. In their third trimester, researchers proceeded to test their glucose levels and their glucose tolerance. They then took all the data and created a model that would find the relationship between triglyceride levels combined with abdominal obesity and glucose intolerance, or gestational diabetes, in the third trimester.

These researchers found that high waist measurements in the first trimester (particularly, above 84 centimeters) as well as elevated triglycerides in the blood (abnormally high or within the higher limits of what is considered normal,) were clearly related to a higher incidence of gestational diabetes in the third trimester. These results were adjusted to take into account other facts like age, family history, and a previous gestational diabetes problem in these women. Even then, the direct relationship proved to be quite clear.

This study suggests that screening for waist size and blood triglycerides could become a tool to predict gestational diabetes in the third trimester. While this disorder can have harmful effects, it is temporary most of the time and can be managed so that it will not affect the development of the baby. Commonly, women with gestational diabetes are placed on a strict diet and exercise regimen (insofar as the women are in a condition to exercise). If the levels of blood glucose are abnormally high, then medication and insulin injections usually are enough to bring it down to normal.

The key to this is in identifying blood glucose anomalies before it is too late or before too much damage is done. This often proves difficult because women with gestational diabetes present few symptoms, and these symptoms are often confused with the normal alterations that are associated with pregnancy and hormone imbalances. Diabetes screening is standard in pregnancy checkups, but any tools or tests that enable doctors to predict with more exactitude the probabilities of gestational diabetes are a welcome addition to any doctor’s arsenal.

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