Effect of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus History on Future Pregnancy Behaviors: The Mutaba’ah Study
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Abstract: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in any pregnancy and recurrence rates are high in future pregnancies. This study aims to investigate the effect of self-reported history of previous GDM on behaviors in a future pregnancy. This is an interim cross-sectional analysis of the pregnant women who participated in the Mutaba’ah Study between May 2017 and March 2020 in the United Arab Emirates. Participants completed a baseline self-administered questionnaire on sociodemographic and pregnancy-related information about the current pregnancy and previous pregnancies. Regression models assessed the relationships between self-reported history of GDM and pre-pregnancy and pregnancy behaviors in the current pregnancy. Out of 5738 pregnant parous women included in this analysis, nearly 30% (n = 1684) reported a history of GDM in a previous pregnancy. Women with a history of previous GDM were less likely to plan their current pregnancies (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.74–0.96) and more likely to be worried about childbirth (aOR: 1.18, 95% CI 1.03–1.36). They had shorter interpregnancy intervals between their previous child and current pregnancy (aOR: 0.88, 95% CI 0.82–0.94, per SD increase). There were no significant differences between women with and without a history of GDM in supplement use, sedentary behavior, or physical activity before and during this current pregnancy. Nearly a third of parous pregnant women in this population had a history of GDM in a previous pregnancy. Pregnant women with a previous history of GDM were similar to their counterparts with no history of GDM in the adopted pre-pregnancy and prenatal health behaviors. More intensive and long-term lifestyle counseling, possibly supported by e-health and social media materials, might be required to empower pregnant women with a history of GDM. This may assist in adopting and maintaining healthy prenatal behaviors early during the pregnancy or the preconception phase to minimize the risk of GDM recurrence and the consequential adverse maternal and infant health outcomes.