Some women develop diabetes during pregnancy, and some of these women will go on to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. Diabetes during pregnancy is called Gestational Diabetes (GD). GD normally develops around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, when the amount of insulin required for maintaining normal blood sugar levels increases to 2-3 times more than usual but your body is unable to produce this much insulin. GD may also result in a large baby, miscarriage and stillbirth.
You are at a greater risk of getting gestational diabetes if you
- are over the age of 30 years
- are overweight or obese
- have a family history of any type of diabetes
- are from an Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background
- have previously had gestational diabetes
- had a history of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- have previously given birth to a large baby
If you have had GD, certain lifestyle changes may help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Losing even five percent of your current weight can help reduce your risk. Please talk to a health professional about losing weight sensibly, as unhealthy weight loss during pregnancy can be harmful to the baby.
- Maintain a low-fat diet and keep portions checked. Work with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that accommodates both you and your baby.
- Eat adequate amount of whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
- Avoid having food or drinks that are high in sugar.
- Maintain a regular safe exercise program, which can help your body burn more glucose without the need for extra insulin.