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NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL DIABETES MONTH
GESTATIONAL DIABETES – FOUND FOR THE FIRST TIME WHEN A WOMAN IS PREGNANT
Women who develop Gestational diabetes have a lifelong risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Up to one in every 10 pregnancies in the United States is affected by gestational diabetes.
Although gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, many women who develop gestational diabetes are not aware of the need for follow-up testing for diabetes. Yet research has shown that high blood glucose (sugar) during pregnancy can have lifelong health effects — for both the mother and her baby.
Recent results of found that women who had higher-than-normal blood glucose during pregnancy are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life than women with normal blood glucose levels. Children born from pregnancies affected by gestational diabetes are also at increased risk for obesity later in life. (1)
Further, women with prediabetes, whose blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes, are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if they had gestational diabetes during pregnancy than those who did not. The NIH-funded Diabetes Prevention Program and its follow-up study have shown that by making lifestyle changes that result in modest weight loss, or by taking metformin, women with prediabetes and a history of gestational diabetes can reduce their risk of progression to type 2 diabetes.
This research underscores the importance of understanding risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as having a history of gestational diabetes, and the steps that can be taken to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. For women with a history of gestational diabetes:
Get tested for diabetes within 12 weeks of giving birth.
Even if your diabetes goes away after birth, continue to get tested for diabetes. If you have prediabetes, get tested for diabetes every year. If the test is normal, get tested every 3 years.
Keep up healthy habits after the baby is born. Staying physically active and making healthy food choices can help reduce or delay a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Getting the entire family involved can yield a lifetime of healthy rewards.
(1) Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO) Follow-up Study, funded by NIDDK
Source: Statement from Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director, NIDDK. November 1, 2018, News Release