A: Gestational diabetes is a disorder characterized by abnormally high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Genetics may play a role but is unclear; typically, at least one family member (sibling or parent) has also had gestational diabetes or has another form of diabetes, most commonly Type 2. A few risk factors can put you at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes during your pregnancy.
Risk Factors For Gestational Diabetes
- You have prediabetes currently
- Family history of Type 2 diabetes
- You are older than 25
- You were diagnosed as having gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies
- You are overweight or obese
- Ethnic background of Native American, Asian, Hispanic, or African American heritage
- Have a hormonal imbalance called PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
- Previously have had a baby weighing over 9 pounds at birth
Discussing with your physician any of the risks listed above or symptoms you may be experiencing can help them determine your next steps. Typically, screening is done in all pregnancies between 24-28 weeks of gestation and consists of an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test. This is done at the lab in most instances and you will do a series of blood tests and drink a glucose solution.
Although you cannot completely prevent gestational diabetes, you can lower your risk by remembering to live a healthy lifestyle.
By being focused on what you are eating, being active, and losing any excess weight BEFORE becoming pregnant will all help lower the risks of gestational diabetes.
If you have any concerns about gestational diabetes and would like to be evaluated before or during your pregnancy, give our clinic a call, we are here to help in your wellness for both mom and baby!