Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women about 28 weeks or later. Although changing hormones and weight gain are part of a healthy pregnancy, sometimes these changes may make it hard for your body to keep up with its need for insulin. When your body can’t keep up, it does not get the energy it needs from the foods you eat—so, there could be a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Although it usually subsides following the pregnancy, some women who have had gestational diabetes are very likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Although it is unknown why some women develop gestational diabetes and some don’t, there are risk factors that have been proven to, in some way, tie into this diabetes that affects about 1 in 20 pregnancies.
Risk factors of gestational diabetes:
• Women older than age 25
• If you have pre-diabetes or if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has Type 2 diabetes
• If you had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, if you delivered a baby who weighed more than nine pounds or if you had an unexplained stillbirth
• Significantly overweight with a body mass index of 30 or higher
• For unclear reasons, women who are African American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are more likely to develop gestational diabetes
East Jefferson General Hospital offers a class on gestational diabetes. The class explains when and how gestational diabetes may affect your pregnancy and if you might be at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. Symptoms, screenings and management will be discussed.
If you are interested in the gestational diabetes class or think you may be at risk for gestational diabetes, call East Jefferson General Hospital’s HealthFinder at (504) 456-5000 to help you find a physician who is right for you.