GDM is a Risk during Pregnancy

by Mark Benson on June 11, 2010

Having Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy is a frightening and unwelcome development for an otherwise momentous time in a woman’s life.

Pregnant women during this period would not only be dealing with the emotional and physical distress of the pregnancy but also the uncertainty of the disease at her fragile condition.

Although some women are at greater risk than others, the Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada recommended that they should screen all women for GDM between twenty-four and twenty-eight weeks’ gestation using a gestational diabetes screening test. For women with multiple risk factors, this screening test should be done during the first trimester, then again during the second and third trimesters, even if the first test is negative.

They defined GDM as high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. In Canada, GDM is higher than previously thought varying from 3.7% in non-Aboriginal women to 8–18% in Aboriginal women.

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) said that early diagnosis of GDM is important because the condition carries several risks to both mother and the infant.

For example, the Association said, children born to mothers with GDM may be “macrosomic”, a medical term meaning “excessive birth weight,” associated with higher rates of caesarian deliveries. This poses a risk of trauma to both mother and baby during the delivery.

Babies born with that condition are also at a higher risk of developing some dangerously low blood sugar levels after birth and excess levels of insulin in the blood. They are also at a higher risk for potential long-term obesity and glucose intolerance, according to the organization.

Experts advise diabetics to maintain the blood sugar level close to normal range for two to three months in advance before planning for pregnancy. Managing blood sugar close to normal before and during pregnancy helps to protect the health of both mother and the baby.

Although they should take the diagnosis seriously, these would-be mothers can manage GDM with the same measures as those with Type 2 diabetes.

The CDA further explained, that during pregnancy, women with GDM should be evaluated and followed by a registered dietitian to ensure that nutrition therapy promotes normal levels of blood glucose, appropriate weight gain and adequate nutritional intake.

Physical activity is encouraged with the frequency and intensity of activity decided by a doctor based on the woman’s pregnancy and risk factors.

If women with GDM do not reach the recommended blood glucose target levels within two weeks of nutrition therapy alone, insulin therapy may be initiated. Certain types of insulin can be safely used during pregnancy.

Women who have had GDM are at increased risk of developing subsequent Type 2 diabetes later in life. A blood glucose test should be performed between six weeks and six months after the baby is born, the Canadian Diabetes Association stated.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

maria sarfraz June 24, 2010 at 7:50 am

Hello all, I’ve been reading a lot of good information about diabetes because Recently i have passed my Diabetes Educator Diplomia and now i am working in (JAIDE)Jinnah Allama Iqbal Institute of Diabetes & Endocrinology(Jinnah Hospital Lahore )PAKISTANr n so I decided to register


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