Pregnant women who are overweight and have slightly elevated blood-sugar levels are at increased risk for pregnancy complications, a new study shows.
These women have a higher risk than those who are obese with normal blood sugar or those with gestational diabetes and normal weight, the researchers said.
Doctors typically are concerned about pregnant women who are obese or have gestational diabetes, and tend to overlook those who are overweight and have moderately elevated blood sugar levels, they noted.
“These are women who have not been on our radar because they don’t have gestational diabetes and aren’t obese, but our study shows if you are one step away from each of those, you carry some significant risks,” lead investigator Dr. Boyd Metzger, a professor of medicine and endocrinology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said in a university news release.
“We need to address the combination of overweight and blood sugar of these women as urgently as we do for women who are obese or have gestational diabetes,” he added.
The study of more than 23,000 women in nine countries found that pregnant women who are obese and have gestational diabetes and those who are overweight and have slightly elevated blood sugar are more likely to have large babies. Having a large baby increases the risk of injury to the baby during vaginal delivery, thereby increasing the likelihood of a Cesarean section, the researchers noted in the news release.