Diabetes During Pregnancy is a Big Deal — Do You Know Your Risk?

According to new guidelines released by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), gestational diabetes is actually one of the most common medical conditions that women experience during pregnancy. 

In fact, worldwide, the organization noted that one in six live births is affected by hyperglycemia or, in other words, too much sugar circulating in the mother's body. 

{ MORE: Gestational Diabetes Linked To Autism }

And to make matters even more dire, that hyperglycemia during pregnancy isn't just some cutesy sugar high like you got after inhaling all your kids' Halloween candy — it's actually a very serious medical concern. FIGO notes that hyperglycemia is one of the leading causes of mother-and-infant deaths worldwide. And the complications don't necessarily end with birth or at the end of the pregnancy. Those babies who are born to mothers with diagnosed (and especially undiagnosed) gestational diabetes and the mothers, too, go on to have many, many health risks later in life, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

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Image via Flickr/ katya_alagich

This is scary stuff, guys. And the real danger is that the women most at risk are the same women who aren't getting adequate screenings, the Huffington Post reported. With gestational diabetes usually comes bigger, more unhealthy babies, and having a bigger baby physically puts a mother more at risk for obstructed labor, pre-eclampsia, postpartum hemorrhage, and preterm birth. And then that baby often has trouble regulating his temperature and breathing with excess weight on his body, too. As a nurse, I've had to monitor babies with diabetic mothers more frequently, as their own blood sugar levels would crash many times after birth without that sugar source from their mothers. 

Because gestational diabetes is such a health concern to mothers and babies, you can be aware of your risk for gestational diabetes by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Am I older than 25 years old?
  • Am I overweight? 
  • Have I had gestational diabetes before?
  • Have I had a very large baby before?
  • Do I have a close family member with diabetes?
  • Have I had a stillbirth?

Unfortunately, there aren't usually any symptoms for gestational diabetes, which is why it can so often go undiagnosed, so it's important to know your risk. Be sure to speak to your care provider to ensure that you have had adequate testing throughout your entire pregnancy because it can develop at any time. 

{ MORE: GBS - Group B Strep: What You Need to Know }

Did you have gestational diabetes while pregnant? 

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Diabetes During Pregnancy is a Big Deal — Do You Know Your Risk?

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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