Getting treatment for gestational diabetes can protect the health of you and your baby and help you avoid heart risks in the future, too.
If you are a woman who has never been diagnosed with diabetes, you may be surprised to learn the disease can threaten the health of you and your baby if you become pregnant.
A specific form of the disease, gestational diabetes, can develop during pregnancy in women who have no history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes — and it’s not a rare occurrence. The condition affects between two and 10 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s important if you are expecting, or planning on becoming pregnant, to learn about the condition — because, left untreated, gestational diabetes can lead to health problems for both you and your baby.
If not controlled with diet and a treatment plan, moms-to-be with gestational diabetes are at risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia. And their babies may be unusually large due to excess glucose (sugar) in the mom’s bloodstream, resulting in difficult births and a risk the baby will suffer respiratory distress syndrome.
Although gestational diabetes typically goes away after the baby is born, health risks can remain. The CDC reports about 50 percent of women who experience gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. What’s more, research revealed heart risks from gestational diabetes can last for many years, long after women have given birth.
The good news is knowledge really is power when it comes to the gestational diabetes. Learning about the condition and how to manage it while pregnant, and continuing with lifestyle changes after your baby is born, can protect your heart and other areas of your health now and in the future.
April 07, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA