It’s one of the most common pregnancy complications, with 17,000 Aussie women developing Gestational Diabetes each year. To mark National Diabetes Week on the 13-19 July, we’re taking you through the factors that can contribute to this condition, and how you can lower your risk.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
In a nutshell, Gestational Diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Hormonal changes during the second trimester can cause the body to become insulin resistant, meaning the body’s unable to respond to and use the insulin it produces. This results in higher glucose levels for the mum-to-be, and in turn Gestational Diabetes.
How is Gestational Diabetes diagnosed?
Gestational Diabetes usually has no symptoms. Because of this, all pregnant women should have a glucose-screening test between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. 5-8% of women develop gestational diabetes, but the good news is it usually goes away after the baby is born.
However, once you’ve had gestational diabetes you are at a greater risk of getting it during future pregnancies, and have a 1 in 2 chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Who is at Risk?
You’re at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if you:
· Are over 30 years of age
· Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
· Are overweight
· Are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
· Are from a Vietnamese, Chinese, middle eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background
· Have had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
Managing Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy comes down to controlling blood glucose levels, which is done maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels. Our 12WBT Pregnancy Program gives you the meal and exercise plans to keep you and your baby healthy and strong, during and after pregnancy. Don’t forget to always check your doctor before starting an exercise program when pregnant.
Even if you’ve had Gestational Diabetes, all is not lost! You might be diagnosed with pre-diabetes, which is basically a chance to make healthier food and fitness choices, or risk the very real possibility of developing Type 2 Diabetes. It’s not uncommon to reverse the diagnosis – many of our 12WBTers have gone from a pre-diabetes diagnosis to a clean bill of health in a short period of time – read their stories here.
Lowering Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
By following a healthy lifestyle you can help lower your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Making healthy food choices, including lots of whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetable in your diet and limiting fat intake can help limit risk. Regular exercise is vital, as it helps combat insulin resistance by allowing the body to use glucose without extra insulin. Keeping your weight within a healthy weight range is also important.
Your Free Diabetes Friendly Recipe
A sprinkle of cinnamon makes this simple breakfast simply delicious.
10 min prep time
5 min cooking
345 Cal / serve
4 slices Wholegrain Bread (160g)
100g Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 Banana (202g), sliced
1 pinch Ground Cinnamon (0.5g)
1. Toast bread.
2. Spread toast with cottage cheese and top with banana.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve.
- For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free bread.
Our 12WBT Pregnancy Program helps mums-to-be and breastfeeding mums keep themselves and their bub healthy and happy. Sign up for our August Round today.