Preventing Diabetes During Pregnancy

Having risk factors for diabetes during pregnancy means that you need to take extra precaution

The women who are most likely to develop gestational diabetes are those with the most risk factors. A risk factor is a condition like obesity, a family history of diabetes, ethnicity, (especially Hispanic or Native American), having diabetes during a previous pregnancy, or PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. Other risk factors are age, especially over 35, having given birth to a baby over 9 pounds, and possibly gaining too much weight during pregnancy. The chance of a woman developing diabetes during pregnancy increases if she has several risk factors.

Some women get diabetes during pregnancy and they have no risk factors

The American Diabetes Association reports that approximately 18% of pregnant women develop diabetes during pregnancy. These are women who were not diabetic before pregnancy, a and most of them will not be diabetic once they deliver their child. Diabetic symptoms, especially elevated blood sugar levels often develop in these women around the 24th week of pregnancy. Their body cannot make enough insulin during their pregnancy, and the glucose accumulates in their blood causing high blood sugar levels.

Stay active and exercise before and during pregnancy

There is a definite link between exercise and diabetes. That's because exercise lowers glucose levels in the blood. Women should be in the best possible physical condition before their pregnancy and should ideally have an exercise routine or sport that they play. Staying active also helps control weight before and during pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy is usually okay, but women should check with their doctor to be sure of any limitations.

Doctors sometimes check a woman's blood glucose level before she conceives

If diabetes runs in a woman's family, or if she has some of the risk factors for developing diabetes during pregnancy, doctors often check blood sugar levels before the woman becomes pregnant. Prediabetes means that a person's blood glucose level is above normal, but not high enough to be considered in the diabetic range. If a woman who has prediabetes becomes pregnant, she needs careful monitoring of her blood glucose levels. Diabetic women who have had the disease for years can safely have a baby, but they are usually on insulin therapy or sometimes they take diabetes medicines to control the amount of sugar in their systems.

Preventing diabetes during pregnancy may prevent it later in life

The American Diabetes Association reports that women who had diabetes during pregnancy have a 35-60% chance of becoming diabetic within 10 to 20 years. As more research points to long-term consequences to having diabetes during pregnancy, it becomes more important to do everything possible to control the disease if it develops during pregnancy. Even more, everything possible should be done to prevent it.

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