Gestational Diabetes (GDM) is a growing problem in Australia (and around the world), affecting up to 1 in 10 pregnancies.
The increasing incidence of GDM is directly related to our increasing body size. Obesity is a growing epidemic in our society and this is leading to more women being overweight when becoming pregnant.
Over 60% of Australian women having babies are overweight or obese.
GDM is also connected to the fact that many women are now having babies later in life, when their body does not have quite the same reserve to deal with pregnancy. As we age, our pancreas gets older too. Our pancreas produces the insulin we need to avoid getting diabetes, so older mothers are at increased risk of diabetes in pregnancy.
Issues associated with GDM include:
· Pregnancy and birth complications for both the mother and baby
· Increased risk of Caesarean delivery
· Increased risk of delivering an infant who is large for its gestational age
· Increased risk of mother developing Type II diabetes
· Increased risk of the child developing diabetes later in life. Babies of obese mothers also have a greater risk of becoming obese themselves and developing cardiovascular disease.
Prevention of GDM is better than treatment.
While the ultimate method of GDM prevention is for women of childbearing age to never become overweight before becoming pregnant, this is not so easy to achieve in today’s fast food society.
Preliminary research, however, is now giving hope that probiotics (“good bugs”) may hold the answer.
There is evidence that probiotics have an effect on metabolism and the way the body handles sugar.
While this evidence was from a trial involving normal weight pregnant women, researchers at Queensland’s Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and Mater Hospital believe probiotics may significantly reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes in overweight women.
These researchers are therefore undertaking a world-first study which they believe could forever change the clinical approach to gestational diabetes and the long and short-term health outcomes of both mother and baby.
To ensure the success of this ground-breaking trial, 540 women are urgently needed to partake in the study. To participate, the women must be based in the Brisbane area, be larger than a size 14 or have a BMI above 25, and they must currently be less than 15 weeks pregnant.
If you would like to find out more information, please contact Katie Foxcroft, the research nurse coordinator at RBWH, on 07 3646 5146 or