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How can we prevent gestational diabetes in pregnancy?

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Published on Sep 15, 2013

In recent years there has been an alarming increase in the rate of gestational diabetes, which has been occurring in parallel with the rapidly escalating rates of obesity in women. Researchers Professor Lesley McCowan (the University of Auckland), Dr Kara Okesene-Gafa (Counties Manukau District Health Board) and Mafi Funaki-Tahifote (Heart Foundation) are asking questions about how this can be addressed. This matters because diabetes in pregnancy has an adverse effect on the mother's health, and also has the potential to influence the health of the unborn child throughout its life.

Our researchers are assessing whether a nutritional intervention and a probiotic capsule, either together or separately, can help prevent gestational diabetes in obese women at highest risk. If this research is successful, we have potential to improve health of mothers and babies and potentially reduce the cycle of childhood obesity. If our intervention is not successful then other strategies will need to be devised to try to break this vicious cycle.

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