Gestational Diabetes

National Diabetes Month

Diabetes and Pregnancy
Diabetes and Pregnancy


Halloween might be over but Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner and did you know that 75% of Americans annual weight gain takes place during the holiday season?  There are over 29 million adults or 1 out of 11 people living in the US that have diabetes and 1 out of 4 of those don’t know they have it!  1 out of 3 people will develop diabetes in their lifetime.  Those are staggering statistics.

A brief and basic anatomy and physiology lesson to get us all on the same page about diabetes.  First, diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses glucose, a sugar that is your body’s main source of fuel.  Your pancreas, a gland that lies behind your stomach, makes a hormone called insulin.  Insulin helps the glucose get into your body’s cells which in turn gives your body the energy that it needs.  Just as your cell phone needs a battery to work, your body needs glucose to keep it running.

When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t use its own insulin as well as it should thereby causing your sugar to build up in your blood. There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1- (insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes) is when your body can’t make insulin or all the insulin that your body needs.  Your body can get some of the glucose from food but the glucose can’t get into the cells where it is needed so it hangs out in your blood making your blood sugar levels high.

Type 2  (insulin resistant or adult-onset diabetes and most common) is when your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) can develop at any point during the pregnancy and is caused by pregnant hormones that lead to insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance increases your body’s need for insulin. For most women, blood glucose levels return to normal after pregnancy but you should still have your levels tested 6 to 12 weeks after delivery.

Your Obstetrician or Midwife will test a sample of your blood to check for GDM between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy. You get to drink a sugary beverage and have your blood glucose level checked after an hour. Your doctor will give you important instructions to follow before the test.  If you don’t pass this test, you will have to return for a three hour fasting blood glucose test.  Your levels will be checked before the test begins, then you will drink a sugary beverage and your blood glucose levels will be checked at 1 hour, 2 hours and 3 hours.

Untreated or uncontrolled Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes can affect all aspects of your life and can lead to serious health outcomes.

Before you hit up your local grocery store or mini mart for the sales on candy this week, THINK about what you are putting in your body and if you are pregnant, how it may be affecting your growing baby.  MODERATION is the key!

To become more educated about the warning signs, risks associated with and living with diabetes, check out:

American Diabetes Association

20 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain – Beat the Statistics


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