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Gestational Diabetes - A Pregnancy Disease!

Gestational diabetes

(GD) is a subject that I had to do some research on. While I can tell you much about type 2 and some about type 1, all I knew about “GD” was that it affected women who were pregnant.

Approximately 3-10% of pregnancies are shown to have this condition. These women display high blood glucose levels without previously being diagnosed with diabetes.

Women with "GD" are at increased risk of developing type 1 or 2 after pregnancy and their offspring are prone to developing childhood obesity, with type 2 later in life.

About 40-60% of women with GD have no demonstrable risk factor;  But on screening some risk factors include:

  • a previous diagnosis of "GD" or prediabetes,

  • impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glycaemia

  • a family history revealing a first degree relative with type 2 diabetes

  • maternal age - a woman's risk factor increases as she gets older (especially for women over 35 years of age)

  • ethnic (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, background Afro-Caribbeans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and people originating from South Asia)

  • being overweight, obese or severely obese increases the risk by a factor 2.1, 3.6 and 8.6, respectively.

  • a previous pregnancy which resulted in a child with a high birth weight.

  •  previous poor obstetric history

  • Statistics also show a double risk of "GD" in smokers.  

As with any type of diabetes management - excercise and good eating habits help.

Any diet needs to provide sufficient calories, while avoiding simple carbohydrates which causes peaks in blood sugar levels. Since insulin resistance is highest in mornings, breakfast carbohydrates need to be restricted more.

Gestational diabetes generally resolves once the baby is born.

What is diabetes