The National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases says that about half of all women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
That’s the NIDDK’s focus during National Diabetes Month, which is observed each year in November: to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes among mothers who suffered from gestational diabetes.
While gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy, often goes away after the baby is born, the mother’s lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes goes up. And the increased risk doesn’t stop with the mother. The child, too, has an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Assessing Your Risk
The NIDDK advises women who’ve had gestational diabetes to get tested for type 2 diabetes within 12 weeks after their baby is born. A family physician can accurately test for diabetes with an A1C test, a blood test that measures the body’s average blood glucose levels over the past three months, or may opt for a simple finger prick to detect abnormal blood glucose levels. If the test is normal, women who had gestational diabetes should be retested every three years.
Additionally, if you had gestational diabetes, your child’s pediatrician should be aware. The doctor may choose to monitor your child more closely for signs of diabetes.