Did you know that almost 50 percent of women who have had gestational diabetes — the type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy — go on to develop Type 2 diabetes within a few months or years after their child's birth?
Neither did I.
In fact, it turns out that most women — specifically those women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy — are unaware if this information, which is why fewer than one in five of those women return for diabetes testing after their baby is born.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2 percent and 10 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. If left untreated, the mother's condition can wreak havoc on the development of her baby, making the fetus grow too large too fast, leading to C-sections and early deliveries. It also can trigger a potentially life-threatening condition called preeclampsia and increase the baby's risk of future childhood obesity.
Which is why so many OB/GYNs recommend blood sugar tests during pregnancy. The problem is that there is little follow-up after pregnancy. A new mom's blood sugar may return to normal immediately after childbirth, but a follow-up test within six to 12 weeks after childbirth would be a better indicator of her future health. Still, according to research from Quest Diagnostics, fewer than 20 percent of women are rechecked for diabetes within six months of childbirth.
Got gestational diabetes? Get yourself in for a checkup.