Gestational Diabetes and Minority Women
About 7% of American women will develop a condition called gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. A woman produces hormones when pregnant that cause a resistance to insulin and may cause elevated blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels can be dangerous for your baby.
Gestational Diabetes occurs at a higher rate among Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, South or East Asians, Pacific Islanders, or people of Aboriginal descent.
In addition to race, Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- 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 BMI > 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 9 pounds or more are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is treated with a special an 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.
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, and should try to control risk factors, such as keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly, and keeping a healthy weight.. Breastfeeding reduces both the mom’s risk and her baby’s risk of developing diabetes someday.
If you are concerned about gestational diabetes, please call 274-1122, ext. 2930.
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 dietician. Your obstetrician can refer you to our Outpatient 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.