Lives Made Better | winter 2011

Keep Active to
Keep Gestational
Diabetes at Bay

Gestational diabetes is the form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It can cause many problems, from high blood pressure to delivery complications. You’re at higher risk for gestational diabetes if:

  • A close relative
    has diabetes
  • You’re African-American, American Indian, Asian-American,
    Hispanic, or a Pacific Islander
  • You’re overweight
  • You had gestational diabetes before or
    delivered a baby exceeding 9 pounds
  • Your blood sugar level is high

Although gestational diabetes often disappears after delivery, if you have it, you’ll be twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes later on. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent gestational diabetes.

A recent study found that exercise is key. Women who got the highest amount of strenuous exercise in the year before becoming pregnant were 81 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes than those who got little exercise. Even those who began exercising after becoming pregnant had a lower risk.

You also can help prevent gestational diabetes by maintaining a reasonable weight before becoming pregnant. Try to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Be sure to limit sweets and fatty foods, too.