Healthy diet in early pregnancy reduces risk of gestational diabetes

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A healthy, comprehensive diet that lowers the body's inflammation reduces the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, reveals a new study from the University of Turku in Finland.

Obesity is a significant risk factor for developing gestational mellitus, and an increasing number of pregnant women are overweight or obese. Dietary habits have an impact on both obesity and the onset of gestational diabetes mellitus.

The mother-child study conducted at the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Finland examined the connection between dietary intake and onset of gestational diabetes in 351 overweight or obese women.

The women's nutrient intake was calculated from food diaries, on the basis of which two dietary patterns, a healthier and an unhealthier dietary pattern, were recognized. In addition, the overall quality of the in reference to that recommended was described with a diet quality index and the inflammatory potential with a dietary inflammatory index.

"Our research results show that following a in early pregnancy reduces the risk of gestational diabetes," says first author and doctoral candidate Lotta Pajunen from the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku.

Diet that increases body's inflammation heightens the risk of gestational diabetes

The study also found that a higher dietary inflammatory index, meaning a diet that increases the low-grade inflammatory markers in the body was connected to an increased risk of developing . Furthermore, a higher consumption of fat and especially saturated fats was connected to gestational diabetes. This is of interest as the intake of saturated fats is known to increase the body's inflammation.

Several methods were used in the study to examine the in early pregnancy. These analyses revealed that a diet comprehensively promoting health is associated with a smaller risk of developing gestational diabetes.

"Eating vegetables, fruit, berries, and wholegrain products as well as unsaturated fats is particularly important. These nutrients and foods reduce in the body and therefore also the risk of gestational diabetes. Mothers who are overweight or obese already before the pregnancy would most likely benefit from dietary guidance in early pregnancy," says Associate Professor in Nutrition Kirsi Laitinen from the University of Turku, the PI of the Early Nutrition and Health research group that conducted the study.

More information: Lotta Pajunen et al, A healthy dietary pattern with a low inflammatory potential reduces the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, European Journal of Nutrition (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s00394-021-02749-z

Journal information: European Journal of Nutrition
Citation: Healthy diet in early pregnancy reduces risk of gestational diabetes (2021, December 29) retrieved 5 March 2024 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Gut microbiota not involved in the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus


Feedback to editors