Get to Know Gestational Diabetes

At WomanCare, we often get a lot of questions about pregnancy – the dos and don’ts, changes in your body, etc. Gestational diabetes is one of those topics that bring many questions to our office. It is a condition we typically test for between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy and occurs when the body’s higher levels of pregnancy hormones interfere with insulin production. It is manageable and only occurs in about six to nine percent of pregnancies. However, it is important to know if you are at risk, how it affects you and your baby, and what you can do to prevent or lower your chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Are you at risk?

While some women may develop gestational diabetes for unknown reasons, there are several factors that may put expecting mothers at greater risk for gestational diabetes.

– Overweight or obese
– Lack of exercise
– Previous gestational diabetes
– Polycystic ovary syndrome
– Immediate family member has diabetes
– Previously delivered a baby weighing more than nine pounds
– Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian American women have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes

How does gestational diabetes affect my baby?

While most women with gestational diabetes can complete a full-term pregnancy, some may face complications that lead to the baby being born before its due date or by C-section. Some babies may also be extra-large and can develop low blood sugar, obesity or type 2 diabetes later in life.

How does gestational diabetes affect me?

Considering between 15 and 70 percent of women with gestational diabetes develop diabetes later in life, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends you get tested one to three months after your baby is born, and again every one to three years. You may also develop high blood pressure or preeclampsia during pregnancy. Getting tested for gestational diabetes and talking with your doctor about keeping your condition under control can lead to a safer delivery for you and your baby.

Tips for lowering my chances of developing gestational diabetes.

There are several things you can do to lower your chances of developing gestational diabetes. First and foremost, take care of your body. This includes eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. You can also check with your doctor to see if you should be monitoring your blood sugar more frequently or taking insulin to keep your blood sugar under control. They will be able to provide the best course of action to keep you and your baby healthy. Have more questions about gestational diabetes? We’re here to help. Schedule an appointment with WomanCare today by calling 847-221-4900 or visiting our patient portal.

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