“Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones and weight gain block a woman’s body's ability to use insulin properly thus causing the increase of blood glucose.”
Answers from the doctor
Enrico Repetto, MD, Medical Director at Roche Diabetes Care answers frequently asked questions about gestational diabetes:
Is gestational diabetes on the rise in the US?
“Yes, gestational diabetes is on the rise among women.1 Even among active service women in the Military Health System, rates of gestational diabetes have doubled in the last 10 years.2 In the U.S., Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and African-American women are also at higher risk”
What are the factors contributing to this rise?
“This could be due to women getting pregnant later, beginning pregnancy overweight and decreasing physical activity.”
How can a pregnant woman detect her risk of gestational diabetes?
“Pregnant women without known diabetes mellitus should be screened for gestational diabetes after 24 weeks.”
During pregnancy, what are the recommended glucose levels to reduce the risk of complications?
“Fasting and postprandial self-monitoring of blood glucose are recommended in pregnancy to achieve the following glucose levels targets – fasting < 95 mg/dL and 2h postprandial < 120 mg/dL.”
Why is it important to detect and treat gestational diabetes during pregnancy?
“Treatment of gestational diabetes significantly reduces the incidence of health complications such as spontaneous abortion, increase of blood pressure, excessive birthrate and pre-term birth.”
How does gestational diabetes affect the health of mom and baby after delivery and later in life?
“While gestational diabetes often goes away after delivery, more than 50% of women with gestational diabetes are at high risk of subsequently developing diabetes.3 Women with gestational diabetes should be screened 6 to 12 weeks postpartum to check if there is persistently abnormal glucose. Babies of moms with gestational diabetes are also at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.4”
For women thinking of becoming pregnant or are already pregnant, what steps can reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes?
“Women who are already expecting can help prevent and control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods and staying active. Pregnant women should talk to their doctors about their risks, get blood sugar checks and follow recommendations. For women thinking about becoming pregnant, starting pregnancy at a healthy weight helps, It is also a good idea to ask the doctor what a reasonable amount of weight gain during pregnancy is appropriate.”