Women who develop high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. These women should be tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after their baby is born. In many cases their blood glucose levels show that they are no longer considered to have diabetes. But what many people don’t realize is that new moms who had gestational diabetes will continue to have a greater risk for getting diabetes during their entire lifetime. So even if the test for diabetes is normal right after the baby is born, these women should continue to get tested for diabetes at least every three years.
Gestational diabetes occurs more often in women with a family history of diabetes, obese women and minority women including Latinas.
“As diabetes month approaches in November, we want Latinas with a history of gestational diabetes to be aware of their long-term health risks, the health risks faced by their children, and steps they can take to keep themselves and their families healthy,” said Marisol Morales of the National Latina Health Network.
Children of women who had gestational diabetes are also at risk for obesity and diabetes, so it’s a good idea for mothers to let their child’s doctor know that they had gestational diabetes.
Latinas with a history of gestational diabetes can do a lot to prevent or delay the risk of developing diabetes. In addition to screening for diabetes, it is important for women to reach and maintain a healthy weight by making healthy food choices and being active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Even if women do not reach their “goal” weight, research shows that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce risk. These action steps are good for the entire family and help mom and baby manage their risks for developing diabetes.
For free bilingual information on gestational diabetes call the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) at 1-888-693-NDEP (6337) or visit their website at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org