Association between healthy maternal dietary pattern and risk for gestational diabetes mellitus

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016 Feb;70(2):237-42. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2015.145. Epub 2015 Sep 9.


Background/objectives: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with negative health effects for mother and child. The aim was to investigate the association between maternal dietary patterns and GDM.

Subjects/methods: Prospective observational study including 168 pregnant women aged 18-40 years, recruited at routine 20-week ultrasound. All participants kept a 4-day weighed food record following recruitment (commencement: gestational weeks 19-24). Principal component analysis was used to extract dietary patterns from 29 food groups. A Healthy Eating Index (HEI) was constructed. All women underwent an oral glucose tolerance test in weeks 23-28.

Results: One clear dietary pattern (Eigenvalue 2.4) was extracted with positive factor loadings for seafood; eggs; vegetables; fruits and berries; vegetable oils; nuts and seeds; pasta; breakfast cereals; and coffee, tea and cocoa powder, and negative factor loadings for soft drinks and French fries. This pattern was labeled a prudent dietary pattern. Explained variance was 8.2%. The prevalence of GDM was 2.3% among women of normal weight before pregnancy (n=86) and 18.3% among overweight/obese women (n=82). The prudent dietary pattern was associated with lower risk of GDM (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.98). When adjusting for age, parity, prepregnancy weight, energy intake, weekly weight gain and total metabolic equivalent of task the association remained (OR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.14, 0.94). Similar results were found when only including overweight or obese women (OR: 0.31; 95% CI: 0.13, 0.75).

Conclusions: Adhering to a prudent dietary pattern in pregnancy was clearly associated with lower risk of GDM, especially among women already at higher risk because of overweight/obesity before pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diabetes, Gestational / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / etiology*
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet / methods
  • Diet Records
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Overweight / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Gain
  • Young Adult