The Effects of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

  • Anna Cooper


The intent of this thesis is to investigate the effects of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on mothers during and after pregnancy and the postpartum effects on children who are born to mothers with GDM. The RDN has three main goals when helping women manage their GDM: promote optimal development and growth of the baby throughout pregnancy, regulate blood glucose levels and return them to normal, and to prevent excessive weight gain of obese women throughout pregnancy. In relation to GDM, the journal articles chosen focused on education and management, intervention and prevention, effects on early childhood, and long-term effects. Infant birthweight was shown to positively correlate with gestational age and negatively correlate with carbohydrate intake, which shows the macronutrient composition of the diet in women with GDM affects the outcome of the pregnancy. High-intensity breastfeeding showed a protective effect against the development of abnormal glucose tolerance during the first year (up to 14 months) postpartum period, independent of prepregnancy obesity and weight changes both during pregnancy and postpartum. Of particular importance were the long-term effects.
Even when controlled, GDM was shown to have the potential to cause differences in infant cognitive function and development. A particular study found that GDM is an independent risk factor for long-term cardiovascular morbidity and cardiovascular-related hospitalizations. The prevalence of obesity in society, along with the increasing number of women with GDM, allows many opportunities to conduct further studies.
Human Ecology