Add potatoes to the list of things that expectant mothers should stay away from during their pregnancies. At least, if they want to avoid developing gestational diabetes mellitus, that is.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal and carried out by teams at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Harvard University, women who consume potatoes during their pregnancies experience high levels of risk for developing gestational diabetes mellitus. Gestational diabetes develops when an expectant mother exhibits high levels of blood glucose levels, which can happen in women who are overweight, over the age of 25, or from certain ethnic backgrounds (African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Native Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and South Asians, predominantly). While gestational diabetes mellitus usually resolve on their own once the baby is born, but can subject said baby (and mother) to some pretty nasty complications in the meantime and at birth, such as: stunted or abnormal growth, jaundice, respiratory distress syndrome, congenital malformations, hypoglycemia, and the use of instrumental deliveries. So, yeah, you definitely don’t want gestational diabetes mellitus if you can avoid it.
The study, which took place over 10 years and had a sample size of 15,000 women required that they maintain a detailed food diary during the course of their pregnancies. It discovered that 854 of those women suffered from gestational diabetes mellitus, and that there was strong correlative evidence to show a positive link between consuming potatoes and developing the condition. In fact, the evidence revealed that the more potatoes a woman ate, the higher the chance that she would suffer from gestational diabetes mellitus. The study also discovered that women who ate vegetables, legumes, and whole grain foods significantly lowered their risk.
What this new information means for pregnant women and women hoping to become pregnant soon is complicated. Potatoes are a cheap staple of many people’s diets in the US, and they’re woven into the fabric of the country’s food culture. When was the last time you ordered a burger without getting a side of fries? And like we said, potatoes are just another entry in the long list of things that pregnant women should avoid, which includes: alcohol, sushi, raw/uncooked eggs, foods that are unpasteurized, raw meats, most varieties of fish, caffeine, cured/processed meats, and soft cheeses. This makes it very difficult for pregnant women to eat like human beings if they avoid every single item that every new study that comes out tells them they should be avoiding. (If you’re a win-baguette-Brie-on-a-Friday-night kind of girl, you can kiss that goodbye for the next ten months.) On the other hand, most women wouldn’t to be in the position of hearing this information, ignoring it, and then landing in the doctor’s office five months later with an OB/GYN breaking the news that they’ve developed GDM. We can’t imagine a worse situation to be in. It’s a difficult position to be in, and one that a woman will have to decide her feelings on for herself.
We’re of the mindset that an occasional order of curly fries isn’t going to put you or your baby in any grave danger, and will probably do you more good than harm, but we’re not doctors, so maybe you should consult your doctor and ask her how this new information affects you and your pregnancy plans.