Though pregnant obese women have been a surefire red flag for physicians, a new study suggests that just a few excess pounds and a moderately high blood sugar level can pose health risks to the mom and baby.
After analyzing data from more than 23,300 women across nine countries, a team of US researchers found that women with elevated blood sugar levels who carried just a few extra pounds ran a higher risk of experiencing a bad pregnancy than those who were simply obese.
Published in the April issue of Diabetes Care, the study found that when mothers were overweight with above-average blood sugar levels, babies weighed an average of 214 grams more than babies of mothers with normal weight and blood sugar.
On the other hand, babies born to obese women who had normal glucose levels weighed 174 more grams.
"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," said principle investigator Boyd Metzger.
Large babies increase the risk of injury during vaginal delivery and the likelihood of a Caesarean section.
Furthermore, a slew of past studies suggest that maternal health plays a huge role in the child’s future development.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Physiology last year found that women who consume high fat diets during pregnancy may predispose their child towards developing diabetes later in life.
Similarly, other studies have found a link between obese pregnant women and obese offspring.
Meanwhile, Babycenter.com offers a guide on how to have a healthy pregnancy, with tips on foods to avoid and how to manage weight gain.