Gestational Diabetes

When a woman is pregnant and visits her hospital for antenatal care, series of tests like urine testing for blood and sugar, HIV, genotype and blood group, diabetes, should be carried out on her on that first visit, she should be thoroughly screened to make sure she is free from any kind of illness just for the sake of her health and that of the unborn baby. If it is found that she has diabetes during her first trimester, it is called type 2 diabetes and treated as such a woman with risk factors for type 2 diabetes at her first prenatal visit. When diabetes develops in a woman without diabetes after the first trimester of her pregnancy the diabetes is referred to as gestational diabetes.

It is said that between 7-18 percent of pregnancies are complicated by gestational diabetes. In women with gestational diabetes, the may disappear after giving birth but in some cases it might show up immediately after childbirth, it is also stated that between 5-10 percent of the women are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes immediately after child birth. Testing for diabetes should also take place 6-12 weeks after childbirth to check glucose intake levels. Non-pregnant criteria should be used for testing. It is found that gestational diabetes is a strong risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.  It is estimated that 35-60 percent of women that have had gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes in the future. It is also thought that children from these pregnancies have a greater chance of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes when growing up.

What should a woman do if she has a history of gestational diabetes? 
1. A woman should be tested immediately after giving birth to see if she has developed type 2 diabetes. If diabetes has resolved, she should have an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) done according to American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recommendations 6-12 weeks following birth. The American Diabetes Association also recommends a follow-up screening at least once every three years and more frequently depending on risk factors.

2. If a woman develops diabetes or pre-diabetes right away and would like to breastfeed, she and her doctor should consult her Doctor to see if there are any problems with a specific medication they are considering. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of the child developing type 2 diabetes and also of becoming overweight. It has been found in one study that for each month of breastfeeding until the age of 9 months, the risk of overweight decreased by four percent compared to a baby that was never breastfed. Breastfeeding can result in a 30 percent decrease or more in having an overweight child.

3. Make a chart of healthy meals plan for your whole family with the help of a registered dietitian, Health Study d or healthy eating guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture  Out of 4,400 women who had gestational diabetes in this study 491 developed type 2 diabetes. All of these diets promote healthy eating including vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains. The research team advised women to eat a healthy diet and it may help to greatly reduce their chance of developing diabetes in the future

4. Healthy weight loss or weight maintenance- It is advised by the American Diabetes Association for a woman to seek dietary counseling (by a registered dietitian) to develop a meal plan designed for healthy weight loss or weight maintenance as needed. In addition, the consult should include a healthy plan for the whole family.

5. It is well known that exercise helps to decrease the rate of diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes should work with their doctor to design an exercise program to start during pregnancy and safely continue after childbirth. The whole family should be included as interesting research finds that a woman’s husband or partner is the strongest influence on the amount of exercise she gets. This is true both during the pregnancy and after. Beneficial, fun exercise is healthy for the whole family.

6. Talk to your doctor before getting pregnant again. The discussion should include getting your blood glucose monitored. It is important to know if you have developed diabetes or pre-diabetes so you can plan for a successful pregnancy.

Stay healthy while trying to prevent type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. Work with your health care team regularly to keep ahead on healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and exercise. Have your blood glucose monitored as recommended by your physician. Please ask questions about the blog if you have any. We are always happy to respond!


Post a Comment Blogger

  1. Thanks for the tips Tessy!

  2. You are welcome and thanks for stopping by Josephine.