Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, typically between the 24th
and 28th weeks. Most women will experience some change in glucose levels during pregnancy due to fluctuating hormone levels. Gestational diabetes develops when glucose levels rise but a woman’s pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate
blood sugar levels. Developing gestational diabetes does not mean a woman was diabetic prior to her pregnancy, however approximately 20% of women with gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Women with gestational diabetes
must make lifestyle changes to ensure their health as well as their baby’s.
Jacobson, MD, Obstetrics/Gynecology, discusses when women should be screened and what changes an expectant mother should make after diagnosis:
Women are screened for gestational diabetes approximately 24-28 weeks into pregnancy. However, women who
are at a higher risk for developing gestational diabetes—risk factors such as obesity, previous instance of gestational diabetes, family history of diabetes—will likely require earlier screening.
It’s important to keep gestational
diabetes in check to prevent complications that could affect your baby, such as excessive birth weight, increased risk of cesarean section, increased risk of birth trauma, premature birth, low infant blood sugar at birth, and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes
and obesity later in life. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can also result in a baby’s death.
Have questions about gestational
diabetes or advice to offer other women newly diagnosed with gestational diabetes? Join our new online community The Parent 'Hood to start a conversation today. Click here to
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Increasingly more women are waiting until later in life to start families. And while there are many benefits to postponing
motherhood, there are some health risks that increase as a woman ages.
What are the risks? Starting in their mid-30s, women face an increased risk for miscarriage, fetal chromosomal abnormalities, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, placental abruption, preeclampsia, early labor and are more likely to require a cesarean.
It’s important to remember that these are risks all women, no matter their age, face during pregnancy. While every woman’s pregnancy is unique, older moms-to-be often face some unique challenges. Knowing what challenges might arise and how to reduce your
risk increases the likelihood you’ll enjoy a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Scott MacGregor, DO, Maternal-Fetal Medicine at NorthShore, shares his tips for staying healthy throughout your pregnancy:
Are you waiting until later to start your family? When did you have your first child?