Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Although any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes, some risk factors make some pregnant women more susceptible to gestational diabetes. Not many of these risk factors for gestational diabetes can be altered. None of them can be safely altered after the woman becomes pregnant. However, if the pregnant woman is at risk for gestational diabetes or develops the disorder, she can take solace in that it can be effectively managed.
One risk factor is age. Gestational diabetes is more common in pregnant women who are over twenty-five years old. Obviously, the pregnant woman cannot change her age, but someone who has risks for gestational diabetes may not want to delay pregnancy. Again, the risks to the mother and baby are minimal if the disease is effectively managed.
If the woman has pre-diabetes at the time that she becomes pregnant, she is more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the person has blood sugar levels that are above normal, but not high enough to support a diagnosis of diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition that can often be reversed if the person is committed to becoming healthier through diet and exercise. If a woman has pre-diabetes before she becomes pregnant, she may want to consider getting healthier before conceiving a child.
A family history of type 2 diabetes increases the woman’s risk of gestational diabetes. If the woman has already given birth to a baby that was nine pounds or more, the doctor may consider the woman at high-risk factors for gestational diabetes or as already having gestational diabetes. If this is the case, there is no need to panic. The pregnant woman should just prepare herself to do what she can to follow the diabetic diet and the advice from the obstetrician.
If the pregnant woman is overweight at the beginning of her pregnancy, she is more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Pregnancy is not the time to try to lose weight. Some women will lose weight during pregnancy naturally if they are eating healthier than they did before the pregnancy. However, restricting calories too low levels is not advisable during pregnancy.
For reasons unknown, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Of course, this is a factor that is beyond anyone’s control. Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes should follow the guidance of their obstetricians and dieticians to ensure the safety and well-being of themselves and their unborn children.