Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is being diagnosed in as many as 18% of pregnant women. Then followed by Type II Diabetes shortly thereafter at the rate of up to 60% (NIH). Diabetes was the furthest thing from my mind when I was pregnant simply because I was active, healthy, ate healthy foods, and was not overweight. The diagnosis came that I had gestational diabetes metallius; after the shock wore off, the thoughts of what would happen to the health of my child, as well as, my health became a big concern. I watched more closely what I ate and kept exercising to make sure I kept my sugar levels where they were supposed to be; however, in the back of my mind the thought of having Type II Diabetes concerns me. Many questions arose from this situation like: Can I keep from getting Type II Diabetes (T2D) by living a healthy lifestyle? Is there a genetic connection? Could this have possibly been stopped before I even got GDM? Is Type II Diabetes preventable after Gestational Diabetes? What exactly is diabetes?.
What is gestational diabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association, Gestational Diabetes is a form of insulin resistance. The placenta produces hormones that help the baby grow; however, those same hormones block the insulin in the mother's body, thus causing the mother to need in excess of three times insulin than is normal. When there is not enough insulin, the glucose cannot leave the mothers body, thus giving her extremely high levels of glucose in the blood and then this gets passed on to the baby. So both mother and child have too much glucose in their bodies and are at risk for many health related issues. According to the National Institute of Health, some of the health risks for mothers are as follows: Type II Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, strokes, blindness, metabolic syndrome and amputation. This is alarming for any person just wanting to have a healthy baby.