Eating less animal fat and cholesterol might decrease a woman's risk for gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Eat too much, and the risk almost doubles. This is according to a recent study from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University.
The increased risk of gestational diabetes due to a diet high in these fats was not lowered by other factors such as exercise which have been found to reduce risk. Women whose total fat or other fat consumption was high (not animal fat or cholesterol) did not have increased risk.
This has been the largest study conducted on pre-pregnancy diet and it's effects on gestational diabetes. Researchers used information from over 13,000 women from the Nurses' Healthy Study II. Subjects were divided into groups according to percentages of calories from animal fat. The women in the group with the highest percentage had almost twice the risk as those in the group with the lowest percentage. Women in the group with the highest cholesterol consumption were 45% more likely to develop gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy problems. It is a condition where blood sugar levels rise too high in pregnancy and increase the risk for complications for mother and baby. Having gestational diabetes in pregnancy increases the mother's risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. There are usually no symptoms, so most women are screened in pregnancy for the condition.