Effect of a Low-Glycemic Load Diet Intervention on Maternal and Pregnancy Outcomes in Obese Pregnant Women

Nutrients. 2021 Feb 26;13(3):748. doi: 10.3390/nu13030748.


The increased prevalence of obese, pregnant women who have a higher risk of glucose intolerance warrants the need for nutritional interventions to improve maternal glucose homeostasis. In this study, the effect of a low-glycemic load (GL) (n = 28) was compared to a high-GL (n = 34) dietary intervention during the second half of pregnancy in obese women (body mass index (BMI) > 30 or a body fat >35%). Anthropometric and metabolic parameters were assessed at baseline (20 week) and at 28 and 34 weeks gestation. For the primary outcome 3h-glucose-iAUC (3h-incremental area under the curve), mean between-group differences were non-significant at every study timepoint (p = 0.6, 0.3, and 0.8 at 20, 28, and 34 weeks, respectively) and also assessing the mean change over the study period (p = 0.6). Furthermore, there was no statistically significant difference between the two intervention groups for any of the other examined outcomes (p ≥ 0.07). In the pooled cohort, there was no significant effect of dietary GL on any metabolic or anthropometric outcome (p ≥ 0.2). A post hoc analysis comparing the study women to a cohort of overweight or obese pregnant women who received only routine care showed that the non-study women were more likely to gain excess weight (p = 0.046) and to deliver large-for-gestational-age (LGA) (p = 0.01) or macrosomic (p = 0.006) infants. Thus, a low-GL diet consumed during the last half of pregnancy did not improve pregnancy outcomes in obese women, but in comparison to non-study women, dietary counseling reduced the risk of adverse outcomes.

Keywords: dietary intervention; glucose metabolism; glycemic load; obese women; pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Area Under Curve
  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / methods*
  • Diet, Diabetic / methods*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Gestational Weight Gain
  • Glucose Intolerance / blood
  • Glucose Intolerance / complications
  • Glucose Intolerance / diet therapy
  • Glycemic Load / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / diet therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose