Many women will develop diabetes during pregnancy. It usually resolves itself after pregnancy. But mothers who had gestational diabetes will be at a higher risk for developing diabetes later in life and so will their babies.
Dr. Emily Cooper explains who is at risk for gestational diabetes, how it impacts the mother and child, and treatment options.
Women are at risk if they have a family history of diabetes, or if they are overweight or obese. Certain ethnic groups also tend to be more at risk. But other times, women may have no risk factors and still develop gestational diabetes.
Women who had gestational diabetes in one pregnancy are at risk for it in their future pregnancies. After pregnancy, they have a 60 percent chance of getting diabetes in their lifetime. Their child has an increased risk of developing obesity and/or diabetes as an adult.
Impact of Gestational Diabetes
There can be higher rate of miscarriage, complications with delivery, pre-eclampsia in the mother, which is a medically serious condition in late pregnancy that’s associated with high blood pressure and can even lead to seizures. For the baby, it can be associated with birth defects, respiratory distress, jaundice or very low blood sugar reactions at birth.
It’s mainly an insulin treatment because that does not’t affect the unborn child. Insulin won’t cross the barrier between mother and baby.
According to many scientists, gestational diabetes is underdiagnosed in the U.S. relative to other countries because we use a less sensitive test than the rest of the world.