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HbA1c testing and weight assessments may be able to help women know their risk of developing gestational diabetes several years before they become pregnant, according to a new study from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation.
Gestational diabetes is a serious problem than can lead to dangerous birth complications. In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that efforts to prevent this and other pregnancy risk factors should start before conception. The new findings may give doctors a tool to help women lead healthier lives before becoming pregnant.
After examining the birth records of 580 women, the researchers found that those who had persistently high blood sugar levels and were carrying excess weight up to seven years before becoming pregnant were 4.6 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
"Our study indicates that a woman's cardio-metabolic risk profile for factors routinely assessed at medical visits such as blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight can help clinicians identify high-risk women to target for primary prevention or early management of gestational diabetes," said Monique Hedderson, who led the study.
She added that the findings could help to redefine commonly acknowledged risk factors for developing gestational diabetes.
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