About 7% of American women will develop diabetes during their pregnancy, a condition called gestational diabetes. A woman produces hormones when pregnant that cause a resistance to insulin and may cause elevated blood glucose levels.
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 include:
- Weight - Insulin resistance increases with body weight
- 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 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 need insulin injections during the pregnancy.
Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future, and should try to control risk factors, such as keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
If you are concerned about gestational diabetes, please call 401-274-1122, ext. 2930.