Hearing that you suffer from gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) can be quite a shock in itself. But how about the future? Will you be a diabetic forever after you have had gestational diabetes, or will your body return to normal after you give birth?
Gestational diabetes does go away after a woman delivers her baby. But that is not necessarily the last thing she will hear about blood sugar levels and insulin, as women who had gestational diabetes do have a higher chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life as well. Type 2 Diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, is caused by lifestyle factors like being obese, drinking too much alcohol, and a lack of physical exercise.
According to some sources, as much as half of all women who have had gestational diabetes will go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes later on in life, within the following 10 to 15 years. Other sources place the figure lower at 30 percent, but this is still a very significant percentage. What can you do to prevent this from happening to you too, if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes? Some relatively small lifestyle changes may prevent diabetes from striking you. They can include making sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet.
You can discuss this with your dietician during your pregnancy as you tailor a diet for gestational diabetes. Regular physical exercise really helps reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Light exercise throughout the work week, even if it is only an hour of walking a day, will help you stay fit and healthy.
Having said that, not all women who get gestational diabetes have weight problems. Insulin regulation is guided by hormones, and around five percent of American pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar levels well through diet and a good healthcare team will help you get through your pregnancy. Keeping it up later may well prevent you from being a diabetic in the future, too.