Objective: To study the influence of energy and macronutrient intake on infant birthweight in women with gestational diabetes mellitus undergoing intensive management.
Design: This prospective study evaluated the impact of intensive management of gestational diabetes on maternal and fetal morbidity, and addressed the relationship between food intake and infant birthweight.
Setting: Fifteen maternity hospitals in northern France.
Subjects: Ninety-nine women with gestational diabetes or gestational mild hyperglycemia diagnosed between 24 and 34 weeks of gestation were surveyed. After 1 was excluded because of a premature birth and 18 were excluded as underreporters, 80 women were included in the final analysis. Diet intake was assessed by a dietary history at the first interview, and by two 3-day diet records at the 3rd and 7th week after diagnosis.
Results: In a forward-stepwise regression analysis (controlling for maternal age; smoking; parity; prepregnancy BMI; pregnancy weight gain; gestational duration; infant sex; fasting and 2-hour postprandial serum glucose; insulin therapy; and energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate intake during treatment) infant birthweight was positively associated with gestational duration (beta = +0.34, P<.002), and negatively with smoking (beta = -0.27, P<.02) and carbohydrate intake (beta = -0.24, P<.03). There were no large-for-gestational-age infants among women whose carbohydrate intake exceeded 210 g/day.
Conclusion: For women with gestational diabetes undergoing intensive management, higher carbohydrate intake is associated with decreased incidence of macrosomia.
Application: These findings suggest that nutrition counseling in gestational diabetes must be directed to maintain a sufficient carbohydrate intake (at least 250 g per day), which implies a low-fat diet to limit energy intake. A careful distribution of carbohydrate throughout the day and the use of low-glycemic index foods may help limit postprandial hyperglycemia.