Diabetes During Pregnancy
Many pregnant women and mothers are familiar with gestational diabetes. This temporary form of diabetes, usually lasting from pregnancy month 5 or 6 through delivery, affects roughly 4% of all women. Complications for the baby such as high birth weight, jaundice, and low blood sugar levels may result from gestational diabetes. The rate of gestational diabetes has remained steady in the last few years. Pre-pregnancy diabetes rates, however, are on the rise.
Women who have pre-existing type 1 or 2 diabetes when they conceive face a different set of complications for pregnancy than do those who develop gestational diabetes. Women who have diabetes during the first few weeks of pregnancy face greater chances of miscarriage. Diabetes also increases the risk of stillbirth, birth defects, and high birth weight.
From the Washington Post:
A study published in the May, 2008 issue of Diabetes Care included 175,249 women who gave birth from 1999 to 2005 in southern California. In 1999, the rate of preexisting diabetes was 0.81 per 100 births; by 2005, that number had jumped to 1.82 per 100 births. In 1999, of all pregnancies affected by diabetes, 10 percent were due to preexisting diabetes, while 90 percent were due to gestational diabetes. In 2005, 21 percent of women had preexisting diabetes, compared to 79 percent with gestational diabetes, according to the study.
The researchers also noted some differences in race and age. Black, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific women were more likely to have diabetes before birth, and teens and women over 40 experienced dramatic jumps in their pre-pregnancy diabetes rates. Teen mothers saw a fivefold increase in preexisting diabetes, while mothers over 40 saw a 40 increase in the rate of pre-pregnancy diabetes.
Experts blame much of the increase on the rising trend of overweight and obesity.
“We saw an increase in type 2 diabetes. That’s due to the increase in overweight and obesity. Also, type 2 is being diagnosed at younger ages,” said Lawrence, who suggested that women do whatever they can to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by eating a healthful diet, maintaining a proper weight and being active. She said there’s no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Dr. Stuart Weiss, an endocrinologist at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said he “was surprised that the incidence of gestational diabetes wasn’t up.”
For women who know they have diabetes before pregnancy, Weiss advised: “Control your blood glucose levels as aggressively as possible. Control isn’t easy to do, because you have to have adequate nutrition and still control your blood sugar.”
But, he added, it’s crucial to try, because it may help prevent some of the serious complications associated with diabetes.
Women who are concerned about their health during pregnancy should consider taking a prenatal vitamin. Vitamins before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after pregnancy can keep a woman in optimal health. Prenatal DHA (omega 3) is also a good idea to keep your body and baby healthy.
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