Determinants of Health Behaviors After Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Prospective Cohort Study in Geneva

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is one of the most common complications in pregnancy. The objective of this study was to specify the determinants of postpartum physical activity and dietary habits after a pregnancy complicated by GDM in a population of Swiss women. This information will be used to improve health promotion and diabetes prevention interventions for women with a history of GDM.


A prospective cohort study of 173 pregnant women with a diagnosis of GDM was carried out. Quantitative data were collected at the end of pregnancy (T1) and at 6 months postpartum (T3). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess associations between the level of healthy lifestyle at 6 months postpartum, clinical and sociodemographic characteristics, motivation to adopt a healthy lifestyle after birth at the end of pregnancy, and postulated psychosocial correlates of health behaviors.


Multivariate regression analysis showed that only 2 variables were determinants in a low adherence to healthy lifestyle in the postpartum period after GDM: a lower level of social support (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; P < .001) and more perceived barriers to a healthy lifestyle (OR, 1.2; P = .002).


This study shows that, for women who had GDM, the problem of low adherence to a healthy lifestyle to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes may be secondary to the lack of resources available for the promotion and development of healthy eating habits and regular physical activity. The findings of this study suggest that some women with a history of GDM do not have the means and resources in the postpartum period to apply the advice given during antenatal monitoring.

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