Gaining weight during pregnancy is sort of a must-do or even a “fashion” in our country, thanks to all the sweet mothers and aunts that we have.

This is still in practice despite the long standing finding that gaining weight in the years leading to pregnancy poses a risk of gestational diabetes.

The fact has gone even more grave with this recent research by University of Queensland which found that even small increase in weight during the pre-years to pregnancy itself has a huge risk of leading to gestational diabetes.

Obesity is a known risk factor for gestational diabetes, which can lead to large babies, birth complications and long-term health risks for mothers and children.

But what is even more surprising and the more important aspect of the research is that, even in women who were underweight or in the normal BMI range fell to an increased risk of gestational diabetes when they gained weight – even if they remained within the healthy weight category. 

It's likely that women who continue to gain weight through early adulthood may experience a modest, progressive insulin resistance, which is further exacerbated by pregnancy, even though their weight is still within the normal range.

Also, women with small weight gains and even then falling within the healthy BMI range doubled their risk of gestational diabetes when compared to women whose weight remained stable over the time.

"It's important for women and their clinicians to be aware that, even in the healthy BMI range, gaining a kilogram or two a year can be a health risk," the researchers noted.

This important research, published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice was presented at the 15th World Congress of Public Health held last week.

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