Routine tests predict gestational diabetes

By Sheryl Kay • Published: September 14th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Complications during pregnancy aren’t usually the norm. But up to 7 percent of women in America will suffer from gestational diabetes, a condition that causes glucose intolerance during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Moms who develop gestational diabetes are more prone to have an early delivery or require cesarean sections. These women are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy. It doesn’t just affect the moms, either. Babies born to women with gestational diabetes have a greater chance of becoming obese and developing the disease later in life, too.

Now, research shows that a very simple assessment of a mom’s blood sugar levels and body weight can easily predict the likelihood of the onset of gestational diabetes seven years before a pregnancy.

These findings are based on a study that followed 600 women over a 10-year-period. All of these women went on to have children and the researchers kept track of how their blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels fluctuated over time.

About one-third of the mamas were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during their pregnancies. After comparing the results of all the women, the researchers discovered that those with higher blood sugar levels in the years leading to pregnancy were eight times more likely to develop diabetes. Obese women were about three times more likely to have the disease.

So what does it mean? Well, scientists hope the findings will make it easier for doctors to identify women most at risk before a baby is on board. By taking steps to control your blood sugar and weight prior to pregnancy, you may even have a chance to prevent gestational diabetes from developing.

And that’s good news for you and your little one.