Eight Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes

Millions of people deal with the health issues related to diabetes every day.  But, with the proper medical care, it is possible to lead a relatively normal life.  A property diet, plenty of exercise, and careful monitoring helps keep the disease at bay.   But, it is quite a shock for expectant mothers to discover they are suffering from this all-too common complication.  Instead, it is nice to know, before the diagnosis, the risk factors for gestational diabetes.

The following information does not mean anyone will necessarily be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  The factors simply up the odds for some moms.  Knowledge is not for the purpose of panicking  pregnant women, who already have a lot of concerns on their minds, but to become better informed, just in case.

Family

The first risk factor should come as no surprise.  Women that already have family members with the disease should not be surprised, if the added insulin requirement for the baby bumps them into this complication.  Chances are pretty good they are already eating well and exercising, in order to stave off the disease.  While they will still have a better than 50% chance of being diagnosed with diabetes later in life, the current problem will probably go away, after the baby is born.

Stillbirth

Although the reason is unclear, it seems that moms who have lost a child to stillbirth are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.  Thankfully, the previous tragedy should also put the doctors on high alert to monitor any subsequent pregnancies more closely.

High Birth Weight in a Sibling

Women with diabetes general have babies with a higher than normal birth weight.  Therefore, if a brother or sister weighed more than 9 pounds at birth, the doctor will want to monitor for gestational diabetes more closely.  Because of the added sugars delivered to the baby during pregnancy, they tend to get fatter.  In September 2009, an Indonesian woman with diabetes gave birth to a son more than twice the weight of the average baby.

Overweight

If mom already has a problem with weight issues, she is more likely to develop gestational diabetes.  In truth, the same risk factor is present even for those people who are 20% over a healthy weight.  Although it is definitely not the time to go on a weight loss program, it is time to change eating and exercise habits.  Caring for a baby begins long before he/she makes a first public appearance.

High Blood Pressure

Pregnant women are more likely to develop high blood pressure.  But, if they are diagnosed with preeclampsia, the likelihood of adding diabetes to the complications also increases.  Although it does not seem fair to have to deal with 2 major health issues, on top of being pregnant, one often leads to the other.  But, following the advice of the doctor, improving diet and exercise, and carefully monitoring the body will greatly improve the chances of holding a happy and healthy baby in a few months.

Infections

Women that tend to have urinary tract, skin or genital infections are also prone to develop gestational diabetes.  Therefore, the best defense, other than eating healthy and exercising, is to let the doctor know if infections seem to occur more frequently than normal.

Multiples

Women pregnant with multiples are more likely to acquire gestational diabetes.  Naturally, the body will have to produce more insulin to accommodate the babies as they grow.  Of course, having twins, triplets, or more babies at one time naturally puts the mom and babies at greater risk for many health concerns, so careful monitoring is necessary in any case.  It will be extremely vital to listen to what the doctor recommends; even on the days fudging the rules seems possible.

Age

Everyone already knows that advanced age increases the risks levels of any pregnancy.  But, most women will be surprised to learn that being over the age of 25 increases the risk of gestational diabetes.  Many women are just getting started in their careers and not even thinking about a family yet.  So, this last risk factor for gestational diabetes pretty much covers anyone who many not fit within the other risk categories.

Most ladies probably do not know how prevalent gestational diabetes is during pregnancy.  In fact, 25% of all metabolic disorders in pregnancy are attributed to diabetes.  For this reason, every woman is now tested for the disease about half way through the pregnancy. Every woman is at risk and so is her baby.

In short, gestational diabetes is such a prevalent complication of pregnancy that doctors automatically test for the disease.  With 8 serious considerations, almost all women have at least one risk factor for the disease.  In every pregnancy, the ultimate goal is to have a healthy, happy baby, and taking care of a child starts with taking care of the mother.

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