Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman's blood sugar level becomes too high while pregnant. Currently, between 2 and 10 percent of pregnant women have gestational diabetes. But a new study published in Diabetes Care suggests that guidelines to diagnose gestational diabetes should be broadened, which would result in two to three times as many women diagnosed with the condition.
Researchers looked at data on more than 23,000 women in nine countries. They wanted to see if women were likely to have problems during pregnancy if they had blood sugar levels that were high, yet lower than currently needed to receive a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
They found that the following blood sugar levels, which are currently within the normal range, actually posed a serious threat to the moms and their babies:
Women with any of these levels had higher risk for overweight babies, early deliveries, cesarean sections, and dangerously high blood pressure. Risk for these problems was up to twice as high as for those with lower blood sugar levels.
Experts think that these new guidelines will become the basis for diagnosing gestational diabetes. However, the 2010 clinical practice recommendations from the American Diabetes Association have not been updated with these new guidelines.
(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)
Some of the factors that raise risk for gestational diabetes include:
Your doctor will gauge when to check for gestational diabetes based on your risk for the condition. If you are at high risk, you may be checked during your first prenatal visit. Women with average risk will be checked between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. If you have low risk, you may not be checked at all.
In most cases, your doctor will check for gestational diabetes by giving you a blood test after you drink a liquid that has sugar in it.
To learn more about gestational diabetes, contact the National Diabetes Clearinghouse at 1-800-860-8747 or visit their Web site.
Always consult your physician for more information.