Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy.
Approximately 7% of all pregnancies are complicated by GDM, resulting in more than 200,000 cases annually. The prevalence may range from 1 to 14% of all pregnancies, depending on the population studied and the diagnostic tests employed. GDM can occur around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, however, some may be experience it sooner. Pregnant women need two or three times more insulin than normal. If the body is unable to produce this much insulin, gestational diabetes develops.
This is a serious condition and if not well looked after it may result in problems to the mother and unborn fetus.
While there is no one reason for why women develop gestational diabetes, you are at a greater risk if you:
· Are over 30 years of age
· Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
· Are overweight or obese
· Have previously had gestational diabetes
· Have previously had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
· You have previously given birth to a large baby
· Have a family history of gestational diabetes
The management and treatment of gestational diabetes is a team effort, involving the woman with gestational diabetes, family, doctor and specialists, dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator. There are three basic components in effectively managing gestational diabetes:
· monitoring blood glucose levels
· adopting a healthy eating pattern
· physical activity