Diabetes means that your body does not process sugar in the correct manner. Most diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) develops outside of pregnancy and can affect both men and women.
Gestational diabetes is a unique form of diabetes which only develops during a pregnancy and which disappears after the pregnancy. It is due to the higher levels of certain hormones during pregnancy, which affects how the body deals with carbohydates. All women become more “carbohydrate-intolerant” when pregnant. In about 10% of women, this goes far enough to be called “gestational diabetes”.
The risk of developing gestational diabetes depends on the woman’s ethnicity, her body weight and a number of other factors, such as twin pregnancies, PCOS and whether she has had previous large babies. All pregnant women should have a 2-hour blood glucose test at 28 weeks gestation to look for diabetes. In addition, women with extra risk factors should have an early diabetes test at 14-16 weeks.
When women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, they are taught how to check their blood sugars 4 times per day. They are also given advice on certain “high-GI foods” to avoid, such as white rice, white bread, potatoes, white pasta and junk food (these foods increase the blood sugar significantly). About 25% of women with gestational diabetes will need metformin tablets or insulin to control their sugars. The remaining 75% of women simply need to make some dietary changes to improve their blood sugars.
Dr. Colin Walsh has huge experience in caring for women with pre-pregnancy diabetes and gestational diabetes. He runs the weekly Diabetes antenatal clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital and sees private patients with diabetes in his rooms in St. Leonards. If you wish to make an appointment to see Dr. Walsh, please call us on 1300 460 111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.