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Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

  • Race - Women who are Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Weight - Insulin resistance increases with body weight. Gestational diabetes is more common in women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2.
  • Family history - If you have a close relative (parent or sibling) with type 2 diabetes, you are at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Age - Gestational diabetes is more common in pregnant women older than 25 years.
  • Pregnancy history - Women who have had gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy have a much higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Weight of previous baby - Women who have given birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment and Monitoring

Gestational diabetes is treated with a special and individualized meal plan and, in some cases, exercise. Blood sugar levels need to be checked, either at a laboratory or at home with a glucometer. Some women may need medication (insulin is preferred) injections during the pregnancy.

Postpartum Care

Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future. They should be tested for diabetes regularly after the baby is born. This risk can be reduced by keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. Breastfeeding reduces both the mom’s risk and her baby’s risk of developing diabetes someday.

Services

Women & Infants offers many services for women who have gestational diabetes:

  • An informational session for women diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Your obstetrician can register you for this class by calling (401) 274-1122, ext. 47452.
  • An individual consultation with a registered dietitian. Your obstetrician can refer you to our Nutrition Department by calling (401) 274-1122, ext. 42729.
  • Our physicians can help you manage your blood glucose levels while you continue to see your obstetrician for prenatal care. Your obstetrician can arrange this service by calling (401) 274-1122, ext. 47096.
  • Your obstetrician can transfer the care of your pregnancy and your diabetes to the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine for the duration of your pregnancy by calling (401) 274-1122, ext. 47094.

Please feel free to call the Diabetes in Pregnancy Program at (401) 274-1122, ext. 42930 if you or your physician have any questions.