If you have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes mellitus during pregnancy, it not only increases your risk of complications to you and your baby during pregnancy, but increases your risk of developing diabetes later in life. While Gestational Diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, women who have had Gestational Diabetes are seven more times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women who have not had Gestational diabetes. Children of mothers with Gestational Diabetes may also have an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
What is the prevalence of Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes affects up to 18 percent of all pregnancies in the United States.
What is your risk of developing diabetes after having Gestational Diabetes?
- Immediately after pregnancy, 5 to 10 percent of women with Gestational Diabetes will develop diabetes.
- Women with a history of Gestational Diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent change of developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.
- Non-Caucasian and Hispanic women with a history of Gestational Diabetes appear to be at particularly high risk for developing diabetes.
- Children born from pregnancies affected by Gestational Diabetes may be at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes compared to other children.
Can you lower your future risk of developing diabetes after having Gestational Diabetes?
Yes, you can lower your risk of developing diabetes through lifestyle changes.
What things can you do to decrease your risk of developing diabetes after having Gestational Diabetes?
- Get tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every 3 years.
- Talk to your doctor about screening your blood glucose before any future pregnancies.
- Discuss your history of having Gestational Diabetes with your health care professionals and your child’s pediatrician.
- Breastfeed your baby, if possible. Breastfeeding lowers your child’s and your risk of being overweight, obese and becoming diabetic.
- Return back to your pre-pregnancy weight by 6-12 months after your baby is born. If still overweight at that time, attempt to lose at least 5-7% of your body weight slowly and work to keep it off.
- Make healthy food choices, such as whole fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, dry beans and peas, lentils, whole grain, increased protein, increased fiber, low-fat or skim milk and cheese.
- Drink at least 8 oz of water before meals.
- Eat small frequent portions. It is better to eat 6 small portions than it is to eat 2 or 3 large meals.
- Be active for at least 30 minutes, five days a week in order to help burn calories and lose weight.
- Help your children lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by making healthy food choices, being physically active at least 60 minutes a day and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Encourage your family to follow a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight through eating small portions of food and staying active.