Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but there are also some pregnancy-related medical conditions that can be life-threatening for you and the baby. One such example is Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) aka Pregnancy Diabetes that is caused by improper insulin responses which can lead to seizures and stillbirths if left untreated. But before you start stressing, here are some common risk factors to look out for.
History of being an overweight baby
Also known as macrosomia (literally “big body”); people with a birth weight of more than 4kg are more likely to have pregnancy GDM. At the same time, there is an increased risk of macrosomia if the mother has GDM.
Family history with Type 2 Diabetes
Not only history, a diagnosis of GDM may carry a lifetime risk of progression to Type 2 diabetes where the body cannot produce enough insulin.
Based on a study conducted by the American Diabetes Association, the risk of developing GDM is about two, four and eight times higher among overweight, obese women as compared to normal-weight pregnant women. This also adds increased risk for an overweight baby who is more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Women above 30 years of age
Another study done by the American Diabetes Association also suggests that though there is no consensus on the age above which there is significantly increased risk of GDM, the risk of GDM becomes significantly and progressively increased from 25 years onwards. During the study, 96.6% of women with GDM continued their pregnancies beyond the first trimester.
The key to managing GDM is glycemic control. Quality nutritional intake is essential. GDM patients who don’t and can’t control their glucose levels with diet will require insulin. Also, having a GDM diet doesn’t mean skipping out entirely on the carbs. From daily exercise to dealing with hunger, there are ways to do it right.
Originally published in “Pregnancy And Diabetes”, in Singapore’s Child May 2016.