Pregnancy and Early Childhood Projects

Gestational diabetes presents negative health consequences for a woman and her baby. As women with a history of gestational diabetes age, they are very likely to develop pre-diabetes and/or type II diabetes. While treatments exist to reduce this risk, women rarely return for testing post-partum and instead often get pregnant again and are again at risk for diabetes in pregnancy. With regards to children of women with gestational diabetes, the first 1000 days of life can influence the risk of a number of health outcomes, including obesity and weight gain trajectories.


Current Projects

We are conducting an NIH funded 2-site trial in collaboration with California Polytechnical Institute, and are currently recruiting women who experienced gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy and randomizing them to lifestyle intervention or health promotion. The goal is to support weight loss prior to pregnancy, thereby reducing risk of recurrence. To date, 100 women have been enrolled in the study across the two sites. 

With funding from the American Diabetes Association, we are working to better understand barriers to post-partum diabetes testing and to remove those barriers so that less neonates are born to women with undiagnosed and untreated prediabetes and diabetes. We therefore extensively surveyed 300 post-partum women with GDM and then designed an intervention to reduce those barriers. Thus far, 300 women have been recruited to participate in this new intervention in which they are tested for pre-diabetes and diabetes prior to hospital discharge. 

This NIH funded study examines mealtime interactions of 18 and 24-month children to determine the extent to which how well a caregiver responds to child feeding cues, along with a number of other maternal and child characteristics, predicts weight gain trajectories of children at 36 months. This study is being conducted with collaborators at California Polytechnical Institute and Temple University. A total of 165 infant-caregiver dyads have been enrolled across the two sites.