What is Gestational Diabetes?
November is National Diabetes Month, and NIDDK (The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease) has chosen “Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)” as their theme for 2018. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is diabetes in women which occurs during pregnancy and is defined as a “carbohydrate intolerance leading to hyperglycemia with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.” This usually occurs because the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs of pregnancy; obesity is one of the main risk factors of this condition.
Gestational Diabetes can lead to serious complications that can sometimes be fatal, including “preeclampsia”. Formerly called toxemia, preeclampsia is evidenced by high blood pressure in women who have not previously experienced it. If a pregnant woman is preeclamptic, she will also exhibit elevated levels of protein in her urine and will have swollen legs, feet and hands. If not diagnosed, preeclampsia leads to eclampsia, a serious emergency which can be life-threatening to both the mother and her unborn child. It is important to understand that there is no other way to treat preeclampsia other than delivery; often, this results in premature birth, which brings a host of potential complications for the baby.
Gestational Diabetes will go away after childbirth. However, this will not solve the problem as there are further complications which can develop later on in life. If a woman has Gestational Diabetes Mellitus during pregnancy, there is a 2 out of 3 chance that it will re-occur in future pregnancies. Even worse, women who have had GDM have a 7 times greater chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes than women who did not. Therefore, preventing GDM is important to the well-being of both mother and child.
Health Conditions That Increase Risk of Gestational Diabetes
There are certain health conditions which contribute to the risk factors of GDM. They are:
- Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose)
- High Blood Pressure
- Unhealthy Cholesterol levels
- Smoking Cigarettes
- Lack of exercise
- Poor eating habits
Risks to Your Baby
Gestational Diabetes can cause babies to grow larger than normal, which can lead to problems during delivery. Obese mothers-to-be are shown to have a higher potential for miscarriage. Also, their babies have a greater chance of becoming obese during early childhood. Childhood obesity creates a higher risk for being an overweight adult and for developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
If you are considering becoming pregnant, you can lower your chances of developing Gestational Diabetes by losing weight. If you are more than 20% your ideal body weight, losing the excess weight will help you have a healthier pregnancy.
The Bariatric Experts Can Help You Lose Weight
Losing weight will improve your overall health and reduce your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes, if you are planning to become pregnant. To help our patients lose weight, we offer procedures like Gastric Sleeve Surgery, Lap-Band Removal, Revisional Surgery, and the Obalon Balloon non-surgical weight loss system. We also provide Nutritional Counseling and post-surgery support. Don’t wait to become a healthier you! Contact The Bariatric Experts today to find out how we can help you lose weight now and live the life you love.