Question: I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes when I was pregnant with my last child who is now 3 months old. The doctor said that now I have a higher chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Is this true, and if so what can I do to prevent my chances of becoming diabetic?
Answer: Yes, your doctor is correct. Gestational Diabetes (GDM) occurs in 7% of all pregnancies. Women who are diagnosed with GDM have approximately a 50% risk of developing diabetes within 5-15 years of their delivery.
The good news is that there are several healthy lifestyle habits you can implement to reduce your chances of becoming diabetic. To lower your risk of developing diabetes, try to achieve a healthy body weight. Start with a goal of reducing your body weight 5-7% by implementing physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at least 30 minutes on most days of the week will help keep your blood sugars normal. Another way to lower your chances of becoming diabetic is to breastfeed your newborn, ideally for up to 2 years. Not only will this reduce your risk by over 50%, but your child will be 20-50% less likely to become overweigh as an adult.
I commend you for focusing on preventative measures and wish you luck…now is the best time to improve your health for both you and your baby!