Gestational Diabetes a form of diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Doctors usually routinely test women for gestational diabetes when they are between 24 and 28 weeks.
In Utah, about four in 100 women develop Gestational Diabetes.
High blood sugar during pregnancy can be serious. It increases the chances of delivering a large baby, making labor longer and more difficult, and increasing the risk of having a cesarean section (C-section). Having a large baby increases the risk of shoulder dystocia.
Women are at higher risk for gestational diabetes if they:
Are overweight or obese before becoming pregnant
Have a family history of diabetes
Are African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
Are older when they become pregnant
Had Gestational Diabetes in a previous pregnancy
The risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the future is higher for women with Gestational Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is usually (but not always) related to lifestyle.
If a woman had Gestational Diabetes, it is important that she goes for her postpartum checkup and has her blood sugar tested at that time to make sure it has returned to normal.
Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after delivery, but some woman may still have high levels of sugar in their blood. These women may be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Some women may have actually had undiagnosed type 2 diabetes prior to pregnancy. If her blood sugar is normal after delivery, it may still become too high later on, so it is important that she has her blood sugars checked every 1-2 years.
There are simple things a women with Gestational Diabetes can do to reduce her risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes in the future.
Try to lose pregnancy weight within six months of delivery
Have your blood sugar tested every 1 to 2 years
Exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week
Make healthy food choices of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads/cereals
Maintain a healthy weight
If she is overweight, losing just 5-7% of extra weight can reduce risks