“Our results indicate that gestational diabetes prevalence is high in the U.S.,” said lead researcher Carla DeSisto, an epidemiology research fellow at the CDC.
Gestational diabetes develops in women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood sugar during pregnancy. As with type 2 diabetes, obesity is a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes. The increased prevalence of gestational diabetes has closely paralleled the rise in obesity, according to background information in the study.
Gestational diabetes can have short- and long-term effects for both mother and baby.
There are a few key steps you can take to help keep your body, and your baby, as healthy as possible through successful diabetes management.
Eat Healthy Foods
A dietitian can help you create a healthy meal plan, and can also help you learn how to control your blood sugar while pregnant.
Exercise is another way to keep blood sugar under control. It helps to balance food intake. After checking with your doctor first, exercise regularly during and after pregnancy.
Monitor Blood Sugar Regularly
Because pregnancy causes the body’s need for energy to change, blood sugar levels can change very quickly. Check your blood sugar often, as directed by your doctor.
Take Your Medication
Women with gestational diabetes are sometimes instructed by their doctors to take insulin. If so, take it as directed to help keep your blood sugar under control.
Get Tested for Diabetes After Pregnancy
Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years.
Why is this such an important step? While most women find that their their gestational diabetes goes away soon after delivery, it sometimes doesn’t. Instead, it remains, and is then considered to be type 2 diabetes. Even if the diabetes does go away, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later on in life.