Are You at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?
Like type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is often associated with obesity. Some weight gain during pregnancy is normal and healthy, but women who are overweight when they become pregnant are at a higher risk of contracting gestational diabetes. Significant weight gain during the pregnancy may also increase your chances.
Age and Race
Women over age 25 make up about 60 percent of gestational diabetes cases, so becoming pregnant over that age is considered a risk factor. Most pregnant women have this risk factor.
Gestational diabetes also occurs more in certain races. If you are African American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Asian American or Hispanic , your chances of getting gestational diabetes are higher.
Past pregnancy outcomes can be a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes. If you have been pregnant before and had it during that pregnancy, you are at a higher risk of contracting it again. Large babies may also be associated with it, particularly babies that were born weighing 9 pounds or more. Past pregnancies that ended in stillbirth or miscarriage may also increase your chances.
Your previous medical history may also put you at a higher risk, especially if you have a history of high blood sugar. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome or another disease that can affect the way your body produces insulin and regulates blood sugar, make sure your doctor knows about it. Glucose intolerance, pre-diabetes or similar conditions may also increase your chances of getting gestational diabetes, even if those conditions no longer affect you.
Even if you have not personally experienced diabetes or glucose intolerance before, make sure you tell your doctor if a family member has it. This may show a predisposition to diabetes, which may affect your pregnancy. If other women in your family have had gestational diabetes, that may also show an increased likelihood of it affecting you.
Gestational diabetes only affects about 4 percent of pregnant women, but it can be a nerve-wracking condition. It is common enough that the risk factors are fairly well understood. If you discover that you have two or more of the following risk factors, talk to your doctor as soon as possible about being tested for gestational diabetes.
There are numerous methods to treat and manage gestational diabetes, and one of the best ways is to catch it early. If you have a family history of diabetes or a past medical history of conditions related to insulin, have had difficult pregnancies in the past, or have certain age, race and weight risk factors, talk to your doctor about screening and management.