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Approximately 2-5% of pregnant women may have gestational diabetes. It is a high blood sugar that can happen at any stage of pregnancy.
Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have complications during pregnancy and at delivery. They and their children may also have type 2 diabetes in the future.
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. But those who are overweight, or older than 25 years, or have prediabetes or family history are at greater risk of developing the condition. Now, researchers have found eating too much potatoes before pregnancy may also up the risk.
Potatoes are one of the most common food ingredients used worldwide and are an integral part of Indian diet. They are an instant source of energy owing to its high starch content but they can also lead to weight gain and other metabolic disorders. Even if they have numerous health benefits, a new study has linked them with gestational diabetes.
The study published in The British Medical Journal says that even though potatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium they can have detrimental effects on glucose material because they contain an enormous amount of rapidly absorbable starch. (Read: 7 reasons potatoes or aaloo are great for your health)
Potatoes have been previously linked to high insulin resistance, increased concentration of plasma glucose and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is characterised by glucose intolerance that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. The study says that a diet with high glycemic index increases the plasma glucose levels and also increase HbA1c levels during pregnancy and thereby increase the risk of gestational diabetes. (Read: 5 simple steps to prevent gestational diabetes)
The researchers analysed the association between potato consumption and gestational diabetes by observing data from The Nurses' health study which has analysed 116430 nurses aged 24-44 between 1991 and 2001. The study found that of 21,693 single foetus pregnancies, 4% of women developed gestational diabetes.
In the study, researchers asked women to fill a questionnaire which recorded their consumption of potato a year prior to their pregnancy rating the intake from 'never or less than once a month' to 'six portions per day'.
Then the researchers match their answers to their medical records and found that they had developed gestational diabetes. The study also considered factors such as their age and family history of diabetes. They found that eating fried or baked potatoes is linked with gestational diabetes. Read: Healthy diet and regular exercise key to prevent gestational diabetes, says study
It is a common complication of pregnancy and has adverse effects on the foetus or the baby. It may increase long-term cardiometabolic risk in both the baby and the mother.
The researchers say that dietary changes and exercise are must to prevent the complications of gestational diabetes. The study also reported that substituting two servings per week of potatoes with the same amount of other vegetables or legumes or whole grain foods can reduce the risk approximately by 10%.