• Dr Peter Chew

Gestational diabetes

Q. I just delivered my baby 2 months ago. I had diabetes during the pregnancy (gestational diabetes GDM) and my blood sugar levels are now normal. Will I get GDM again in my next pregnancy? My obstetrician also warns me that I may get type 2 diabetes later in life. What should I do to minimize the risk?

A. Yes, you can get GDM again and type 2 diabetes later in life. The risk for GDM varies from 30 to 50 percent and that of diabetes later in life, 60%. Your risk is increase if

You remain overweight or obese

Your blood sugar levels during your last pregnancy were high, requiring insulin injections

GDM was diagnosed early in previous pregnancy.

To lower your chance of getting gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes subsequently,

You should breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding has a good effect on glucose metabolism .There is associated weight loss with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It also helps prevent childhood obesity and decrease your child's risk of diabetes.

You should maintain a healthy weight by

Eating healthy foods. Limit the saturated fat. Choose lean meat, skinless chicken and low fat dairy foods. Cut down processed and fried foods. Choose foods high in fibre .Eat plenty of vegetables, beans, nuts, fruits, wholegrain breads and cereals. Watch the size of the food portion.

Being physically active .Regular exercise can keep your blood sugar level down .Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity 3-4 times a week.

You should be aware of the symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), which could be a sign that your diabetes has returned. These are:

• increased thirst

• The need to urinate frequently

• Tiredness

A Fasting blood glucose test and an HbA1c test (a measure of average blood sugar levels over a period)should be done at least once a year to check whether or not you have developed type 2 diabetes

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