Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Diabetes in Pregnancy is on the rise - US News and World Report

Gestational Diabetes in the news: Here's a snippet of a great article in US News and World Report about how the growing diabetes epidemic is affecting pregnant mothers.

It's important to remember that Gestational Diabetes and diabetes during pregnancy (type 2 diabetes, or prepregnancy diabetes) are different.

Nonetheless, there are risks for mothers and children, so don't delay your testing and be sure to follow up on your treatment plan and diet!
Diabetes in Pregnancy Is on the Rise - US News and World Report: "Diabetes in Pregnancy Is on the Rise
By Lindsay Lyon
Posted April 28, 2008

"Having poorly controlled diabetes while pregnant can cause all sorts of harm, from stillbirths and miscarriages to birth defects. So experts are concerned that the number of women who already have diabetes by the time they conceive is rising rapidly: Between 1999 and 2005, the group doubled in size, growing significantly across all age, racial, and ethnic groups examined by Kaiser Permanent Southern California researchers, who report their findings in May's Diabetes Care. Different from gestational diabetes, a temporary type that some women develop well into pregnancy, prepregnancy diabetes can pose more of a threat to a developing fetus.

'A baby's organs form during the first five to eight weeks of pregnancy,' says Steven Gabbe, dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an obstetrician who specializes in diabetes and pregnancy. 'If a mother's diabetes is poorly controlled, she can have up to a 25 percent risk of delivering a baby with a major malformation of the heart, brain, or skeleton."...

...Since gestational diabetes usually develops late in pregnancy, it doesn't cause the birth defects that pre-existing diabetes can. However, "there are risks associated with having gestational diabetes as well," cautions study author Jean Lawrence, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente. Marked by a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream, it can fatten babies, making them difficult to deliver and possibly necessitating a cesarean, and it can also set them up for future health problems. Even though gestational diabetes tends to disappear following delivery, women who have it are much more likely to do so again in later pregnancies; they're also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes down the road."

The Basics: What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is when your body has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It usually appears, if it's going to, during the second trimester, or early in the third.

The numbers vary, but overall, between 2-4% of pregnant women get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Women who are older and have a history of diabetes in their family are at greater risk, and overweight women are far more likely than others to be at risk as well.

If you had gestational diabetes in your first pregnancy, it's a good bet you're at risk again.

Gestational diabetes can have serious effects on both the mother and baby. Although it can be an ongoing condition, around 90% of women see their symptoms clear up after birth.

During pregnancy, your body produces hormones (in the placenta) that disrupt the natural insulin levels in your body. This can lead to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and type 2 diabetes.

To ease your worries, go get tested. Health authorities in many areas, and most doctors now advise mandatory testing anywhere between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy.

Women who experience more fatigue than normal, extreme thirst and frequent trips to the washroom (lots of bathroom trips and tiredness is normal, but only to a point!) should ask their doctor to get tested immediately.

Untreated gestational diabetes can lead to serious complications for the mother and the baby.

For example, you've got a greater risk of infection, mothers may have an excess of amniotic fluid, which can lead to premature birth, and you may need a C-section to deal with an overweight baby.

Children can be much larger than normal and can suffer from low calcium levels. They'll be more prone to obesity later in life. They can be hypoglycemic when they're first born, and they're more likely to suffer from jaundice if they were born early. There's also a greater risk of respiratory complications.

It's important to test for and treat gestational diabetes early.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Worried about Gestational Diabetes?

I was worried about gestational diabetes. And if you're pregnant, you probably are too.

But after the mountains of gestational diabetes help and information I've sorted through, I'm ready to share everything I know so YOU won't worry as much as I did.

Stress is not good, for you or your baby. And a stress-free mom who eats right and exercises is the best possible start to coping with gestational diabetes.

If you have any questions or concerns about gestational diabetes, I'd love to hear them -- I'm just finishing writing, editing, and getting medical reviews for a huge resource I've developed and it could always use a bit more information. (Might as well do SOMETHING with all this info in my head!)

So if you're looking for gestational diabetes recipes (or want to share yours), meal plans for gestational diabetes (or complete diet plans for gestational diabetes), information on how to pass the gestational diabetes test or treatment for gestational diabetes after you've been identified as at risk, stick around, because there's lots to come!