Pregnancy can have a tremendous impact on a woman’s body. After pregnancy, your body has a different shape, you may have stretch marks, and you may find that your bladder is weaker than it was before you were pregnant. For some women, pregnancy may cause the onset of gestational diabetes – diabetes that occurs due to pregnancy.
Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at a greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, according to recent research on pregnancy and diabetes.
Understanding gestational diabetes
Almost 20% of women develop gestational diabetes. It usually sets in around the 24th week of pregnancy. Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes gestational diabetes, although there are some theories related to changing hormone levels in the woman’s body that may interfere with how insulin works during pregnancy.
When a woman has gestational diabetes, she’s not able to produce or to use all the insulin that she needs in order to process the glucose in her blood. This leads to high levels of blood glucose, which can impact her baby if it is not treated.
The risk for type 2 diabetes
Somewhere between five and 10% of women that have gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes right after their pregnancy. A woman who has gestational diabetes has about a 45% chance of developing type 2 diabetes within the next 20 years, as well.
There are a number of other consenting factors that help determine whether or not a woman will get type II diabetes. For example, obesity, genetics, and other health issues can increase the risk that the mother will develop diabetes later on.
Avoiding the risk
There are number of things you can reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes after having gestational diabetes. They include:
- maintaining a healthy diet
- Getting regular exercise, of about 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week
- weight loss, especially for those mothers who are obese
- the use of metformin, a medication that helps insulin to function properly, if recommended by a physician
If you experience gestational diabetes and are concerned about the risks involved in developing type II diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways you can help to prevent this disease.