Getting treatment for gestational diabetes can protect the health of you and your baby and help you avoid heart risks in the future. Here's what you should know.
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 as many as 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 pregnancy, to learn about the condition. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can lead to health problems for both you and your baby.
Women with gestational diabetes are at risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia. 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 later develop type 2 diabetes. What’s more, heart risks from gestational diabetes can last for many years, long after women have given birth.
Managing the condition during your pregnancy, however, and continuing a healthy lifestyle after your baby is born, can protect your heart and other areas of your health.
August 11, 2023
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA