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Lets Chat: Diabetes and Pregnancy

Did you know? Gestational diabetes (GD) is a type of diabetes that can sometimes develop in some women when pregnant. Essentially, it refers to higher than normal levels of blood glucose which if not managed can mean complications for both mom and baby.1

How does gestational diabetes occur?

Researchers aren’t sure why certain women develop gestational diabetes and other don’t, but research has indicated that you may be at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes if:

  • You are overweight or obese.
  • You are older. 
  • You have a family history of diabetes. (First-degree relative)
  • You have had gestational diabetes from a previous pregnancy.
  • You have previously given birth to a baby >4.5kg
  • You have a history of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).1,2

Symptoms of high blood glucose during pregnancy are not always easy to notice as these could be similar to other pregnancy symptoms.  Therefore, a blood glucose screening during your pregnancy is so important – this is usually conducted between the 24th and 28th week and can be done earlier if you are at greater risk of GD. 1,2 Here are some of the most common symptoms to keep a look out for:3

  • Fatigue
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sugar in the urine – only determinable by a urine test done by a doctor.1,2

Managing gestational diabetes:1,2

  • Check your blood glucose level, regularly – when you wake up, before you go to bed, before and after every meal.
  • Regular, moderate intensity exercise is recommended for at least 30 minutes daily throughout pregnancy.
  • Aim to stick to a healthy eating plan as this can prevent spikes and dips in blood glucose levels.

Gestational diabetes during pregnancy can put you at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.1,2 To reduce to the risk of this happening, follow the below tips:3

  • Keep to a healthy weight. 
  • Follow a healthy eating plan.
  • Be physically active.
  • Keep up with your doctor visits to monitor your glucose levels.

Find more information on Gestational Diabetes, download our brochure here

References:

1. International Diabetes Federation (IDF) (2017) Atlas, 8th Edition, Online available at:

https://diabetesatlas.org/resources/2017-atlas.html

2. SEMDSA, (2017) ‘Guidelines for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus’,

Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, 22 (1), Supplement 1), pp S1 – S196.

3. Baker LC. (2018) Healthline: Can you prevent gestational diabetes? Online available at:

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/preventing-gestational-diabete

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