Gestational diabetes in pregnant women is on the rise in our country. It develops when a pregnant woman's blood sugar levels get too high.
A study published in JAMA Network Open shows gestational diabetes in pregnant women rose between 2011 and 2019. It found a 30 percent increase in the rate of gestational diabetes in first-time moms, with a consistent increase of 3.7 percent each year.
Dr. Salena Zanotti, an OBGYN with Cleveland Clinic, said there are a lot of risk factors for gestational diabetes.
"Some of the risk factors are things that are inherent to the way women are living their reproductive lives. Women are older, and we know age is a risk factor for diabetes. Unfortunately, obesity is a big problem in this country, and that is a major risk factor for gestational diabetes, as well as pre-gestational diabetes," she said.
Gestational diabetes is typically detected when a woman's healthcare provider does a test for it at around 24 to 28 weeks. Symptoms are rare but in some cases, it can cause frequent urination, nausea, thirst and tiredness. If left untreated, gestational diabetes can increase a pregnant woman's risk of a C-section, preeclampsia and Type 2 Diabetes. It can also increase the baby's risk of breathing problems, obesity, premature birth and Type 2 Diabetes.
Dr. Zanotti said being the healthiest you can be, will help prevent gestational diabetes.
"There's not much we can do about our age if we're going to be older. But being the best weight we can. If you are obese or overweight, that increases your risk, so trying to lose weight and have a healthy lifestyle. Those are things that can help reduce that risk," she said.
There is medication available to help manage gestational diabetes, but most women can keep their blood sugar levels low through diet and exercise.