Does dietary advice reduce gestational diabetes risk?

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  • Providing dietary advice to pregnant women may reduce their risk for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Why this matters

  • GDM can lead to adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Study design

  • Search yielded 11randomized controlled trials involving 2786 women and their babies.
  • 6 trials compared dietary advice interventions with standard care, 4 compared low glycemic index (GI) with moderate- to high-GI dietary advice, and 1 compared high-fiber with standard dietary advice.
  • Evidence quality was assessed using GRADE approach.
  • Funding:Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies, Robinson Research Institute, University of Adelaide, National Health and Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research.

Key results

  • In 5 trials of 1279 women, there was a trend toward reduction in GDM for women receiving dietary advice compared with standard care (average risk ratio [RR], 0.60; P=.07).
  • In 2 trials of 282 women, there was a reduction in pregnancy-induced hypertension with dietary advice (RR, 0.30), but no clear difference for preeclampsia (RR, 0.61).
  • In single trial reporting on perinatal mortality, no deaths observed.
  • None of the trials reported on large-for-gestational age or neonatal mortality and morbidity.
  • No clear differences were seen in secondary outcomes.


  • Evidence deemed low to very low quality.