The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) are teaming up to remind women who have a history of gestational diabetes about their increased risk for getting diabetes, as well as their children’s increased risk for obesity and diabetes.
Balintfy: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in some pregnant women and affects 7 percent of all pregnancies in the Unites States—about 200,000 each year.
Rodgers: It occurs more frequently among women with a family history of diabetes.
Balintfy: Dr. Griffin Rodgers is the Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. He says it is also more prevalent in Latina, African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native women, as well as obese women.
Rodgers: But what many women don’t realize is that their history of gestational diabetes puts them at risk for diabetes throughout their lifetime and increases long term health risks for both the mom and for her child.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers points out that diabetes is a serious disease that, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and amputation. Additionally, the children of women who had gestational diabetes are also at increased risk for obesity and diabetes.
Rodgers: Women who are diagnoses with gestational diabetes in fact they have a 40 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes within in the next 5 to 10 years after delivery.
Balintfy: As part of National Women's Health Week, Dr. Rodgers emphasizes the importance of steps to take to stay healthy.
Rodgers: In addition to regular screening for diabetes, women with a history of gestational diabetes can do a lot to prevent or delay their risk of developing diabetes after having their baby. Many women who have gestational diabetes see a nutritionist or dietitian during pregnancy. But it's just as important to keep up those healthy habits after baby is born.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers says that it is important for women with a history of gestational diabetes to reach and maintain a healthy weight by making healthy food choices and being active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. He adds that even if women do not reach their "goal" weight, research shows that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce risk, and that breastfeeding can help.
Rodgers: Breastfeeding provides a number of benefits for your baby, including the right balance of nutrients and protection against certain illnesses. Breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers. It allows the body to use up some extra calories that were stored during pregnancy.
Balintfy: For more information on gestational diabetes and action steps to help both mother and child manage their risks for developing diabetes in the future, visit the website, www.YourDiabetesInfo.org, or call, 1-888-693-NDEP. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.