How can diabetes during pregnancy be prevented?

Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle can lower a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes during pregnancy, even if she has a history of gestational diabetes in her family, local researchers have found. 

As part of a study whose results were released on Thursday (Sep 22), researchers from the National University of Singapore observed the data of 4,275 women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) – all of whom are part of a white cohort in the United States that has been followed up with since 1989. 

Of these, 924 women had developed type 2 diabetes over a follow-up period of 28 years.

Researchers found a relationship between women who did not develop type 2 diabetes and their levels of the following modifiable risk factors: A normal body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9, a high-quality diet, regular exercise, abstinence from smoking and moderate alcohol consumption.

They then concluded that those who had optimum levels of the elements above had their risk of developing type 2 diabetes reduced by about 90 per cent.

Researchers saw that even among women who were genetically predisposed to developing diabetes and were overweight, the risk was significantly reduced when effort was put into controlling other risk factors such as diet and exercise.

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