Pregnant? Hot weather may increase your risk for gestational diabetes

A new study suggests that pregnant women who expose themselves to temperatures averaging 24 degrees Celsius or above are at greater the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: May 15, 2017, 16:13 PM IST
Pregnant? Hot weather may increase your risk for gestational diabetes

New Delhi: Many people like to enjoy the sun and hot weather, but extreme heat can give rise to a number of health issues such as exhaustion, confusion and can even trigger heart problems.

Now, a new study suggests that pregnant women who expose themselves to temperatures averaging 24 degrees Celsius or above are at greater the risk of developing gestational diabetes.

The study found that women who remained in colder climates with temperatures averaging minus 10 degrees or colder, stood less chances of developing the disease than those exposed to hot temperatures.

The results of the study that tried to find out outdoor temperature exposure on pregnant women showed women in warmer climates had 7.7 per cent higher risk of developing gestational diabetes as compared to a 4.6 per cent risk of those staying in colder climates.

Further, researchers found that for every 10 degrees Celsius increase in temperature, there was a six to nine per cent relative increase in the risk, showed the finding which is based on the theory of how brown fat in humans becomes active in cold climate to generate heat and metabolism throughout our bodies.

"Many would think that in warmer temperatures, women are outside and more active, which would help limit the weight gain in pregnancy that predisposes a woman to gestational diabetes," said lead author Gillian Booth, a researcher at St Michael Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

"However, cold exposure can improve your sensitivity to insulin, by turning on a protective type of fat called brown adipose tissue," Booth added.

For the study, the team looked at 555,911 births among 396,828 women living in Canada over a 12-year period (2002 to 2014).

In addition, women born in cooler climates, including Canada and the US, who were exposed to cold temperatures during pregnancy had a gestational diabetes rate of 3.6 per cent, while those exposed to hot temperatures had a rate of gestational diabetes of 6.3 per cent.

The reason temperature may affect a woman's chances of getting gestational diabetes may be down to the way in which we make different types of fat, said the researchers.

The findings have been published in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

(With IANS inputs)