Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Mamas on Bedrest: Your Diet and Your Risk for Gestational Diabetes

February 11th, 2013

ks15442wMamas, eating a diet that is high in red meat increases your risk for gestational diabetes while eating a diet that is rich in plant protein- such as nuts-lowers your risk of gestational diabetes.

We are all well aware that eating too much red meat puts you at increased for cardiovascular disease, strokes, increased long term weight gain and type II diabetes. But now researchers have note that high red meat consumption is also detrimental to pregnant women, putting them at increased risk for gestational diabetes.  But there is some good news in all of this. Researchers at the  Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland report that pregnant women who eat a primarily plant based protein diet have a significantly lower risk for developing gestational diabetes. This study data was published in the February 1, 2013 edition of Diabetes Care.

The researchers analyzed pre-pregnancy food questionnaires for 15,294 women, which resulted in a total of 21,457 singleton pregnancies, including 870 first time gestational diabetics. After adjusting for such confounding factors such as Body Mass Index (BMI), age, number of pregnancies and dietary history (including cholesterol history) they found that red meat intake was associated with a significantly higher risk for development of gestational diabetes when compared with diets high in plant based protein consumption. The authors also looked at alternative animal proteins such as poultry and fish consumption. Diets rich in these proteins also resulted in lower risk of developing gestational diabetes, but even their risks were higher when compared with plant based protein intake.

So how big a deal is red meat versus plant protein intake on the development of Gestational Diabetes? Here is what the researchers actually found:

The substitution of 5% energy (food intake) from vegetable protein for animal protein was associated with a 51% lower risk of GDM . The substitution of red meat with poultry, fish, nuts, or legumes showed a significantly lower risk of GDM.

In plain English, that means that women who ate diets high in red meat had a 29% higher risk of developing Gestational Diabetes. On the other hand, if they decreased their red meat consumption by 5% and substituted nuts for the red meat, they lowered their risk for developing Gestational Diabetes by 51%. This is HUGE!! This risk reduction is even greater than what is seen when red meat is substituted with poultry or fish (which both significantly reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, just not as dramatically as replacing red meat with nuts.)

The researchers also found:

Substituting 1 serving per day of total red meat with a more healthful protein source was associated with a 29% lower risk for GDM for poultry, 33% for fish, 51% for nuts, and 33% for legumes (beans).

These numbers are staggering. Yet they also clearly indicate that small dietary changes can have significant impact on our health. If you have a history of Gestational Diabetes  (in a previous pregnancy) or have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, you may want to discuss dietary changes with your doctor  and consider exchanging your intake of red meat for other animal proteins (poultry or fish) or for vegetable sources of protein if you consume large amounts of red meat.  Even if you don’t consume large amounts of red meat, if you have developed Gestational Diabetes and do eat red meat, you may want to consult with your doctor or a nutritionist about making changes to your diet to improve your sugar metabolism and to stabilize your blood sugars.



Medscape Medical News

Wei Bao, MD, PHD,  Katherine Bowers, PHD,  Deirdre K. Tobias, SCD, Frank B. Hu, MD, PHD,  and Cuilin Zhang, MD, PHD                           Pre-regnancy Dietary Protein Intake, Major Dietary Protein Sources, and the Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A prospective cohort study. Diabetes Care, February 1, 2013


Mamas on Bedrest: The Votes are in-The Affordable Care Act Stands!

November 9th, 2012

With the Re-election of President Barack Obama, The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is pretty much solidified as part of American Culture. Here, Bedrest Coach Darline Turner reviews just what the Affordable Care Act provides for women, Mamas on Bedrest in particular.

Mamas on Bedrest: Medications in Pregnancy-Updates on the Latest Research

November 5th, 2012

Whether or not to use medications during pregnancy and which medications are safe to take during pregnancy are always difficult conversations. When a mama has a medical condition, health care providers are always faced with the question,

“Does the risk of using a particular medication outweigh the benefit that the medication will provide to both the mama and baby? Are there potential side effects that are harmful to mama, baby or both?”

These are difficult questions to answer given that there is little research done on the effects of medications during pregnancy due to fear of harm to mama, baby or both. Recently, there have been some published studies indicating that there are some beneficial and safe medications to use during pregnancy and some medications that we may really want to avoid. The FDA has also created a new department to assess risk of medications during pregnancy. All of this breaking news is summarized below.

Probiotics in Pregnancy Reduce Eczema in Pregnancy. In June 2010, research was published in the British Journal of Dermatology that suggests that mamas who take probiotics during the third trimesters and for the first 3 month post partum while breastfeeding showed reduced incidence of eczema in the newborns, but there was no effect on the subsequent development of allergic rhinitis, asthma or atopic dermatitis later on. Because taking probiotics is safe and relatively inexpensive, researchers believe that recommending that pregnant mamas take probiotics during this time period poses no health risk or threat and is most likely beneficial to mamas and infants.

New Recommendations for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Vaccination During Pregnancy. Originally posted on October 26, 2012, this post reviews the current guidelines and recommendations for Tdap vaccination during pregnancy.

Link Found Between Vitamin D Levels and Gestational Diabetes. In this blog posted on October 19, 2012, we share the latest data presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 48th Annual Meeting suggesting that low Vitamin D levels early on in pregnancy put mamas at greater risk for developing gestational diabetes.

Fish Oil for the Treatment of Post Partum Depression. This Blog post highlights research presented by Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett on La Leche League’s website discussing the role that chronic inflammation plays in post partum depression. She also states that supplementing with fish oil, rich in the Omega 3 Fatty Acids docosaheaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), fhave been found to be more potent in reducing inflammation and in turn, depression.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) for treatment of Depression in Pregnancy. It is a well established fact that depression during pregnancy can lead to serious morbidity and mortality for both mamas and babies. Depression is also more common in women who are experiencing infertility and difficulty conceiving, and until now, SSRI’s were the first line medications prescribed. However, recent data published by Alice Domar, PhD, from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF, in Massachusetts shows that treating depression in infertile women with SSRI can have serious deleterious effects for women trying to conceive as well as their babies when they become pregnant.

Publishing in Human Reproduction, Domar states the know evidence.

“SSRI use is associated with possible reduced infertility treatment efficacy as well as higher rates of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, pregnancy complications, neonatal issues and long-term neurobehavioral abnormalities in offspring.

As a result Domar recommends that clinicians consider alternative treatments for depression in women trying to conceive and women who become pregnant using Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), namely, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

The Establishment of the Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the creation of the Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program (MEPREP). This pilot program is intended to provide a large, ethnically and geographically diverse population with which to address a variety of important and timely issues surrounding the safety of medication use during pregnancy. MEPREP is intended to provide the expertise and data resources to enable studying drug exposures for which there is a signal of potential fetal risk from animal studies, human case reports, or other published literature.

MEPREP is a collaborative effort between The FDA and researchers at the HMO Research Network (HMORN), Kaiser Permanente Northern and Southern California, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. It also encompasses the affliated organizations at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Kaiser Permanente Georgia, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Group Health Research Institute, HealthPartners Research Foundation, Lovelace Clinic Foundation, the Meyers Primary Care Institute/Fallon Community Health Plan, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Data generated comes from the electronic medical records at each institution as well as birth certificate data obtained from the state departments of public health. This extensive data base allows for diverse patient data across a wide demographic of age, racial and ethnicity and geographic area.

It is great to finally see research being done of medication use, efficacy and safety during pregnancy. It is highly likely that as a result of all of this attention and research new, more effective and safer treatments will become available for women with medical illnesses, lessening the risk of complications, poor outcomes and (thankfully) death before,  during and after pregnancy for mamas and babies.