As a person who had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my first child, I was very interested in this new study which states that women who do not control their diet and do not exercise after diagnoses risk contributing to neurological delays in their babies.
The study, conducted by researchers at Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center in Israel, observed women who delivered at that hospital between 1991 and 2014, and their children. Of the 230,000 women who had babies there during that period, 5.4% (12,642) developed gestational diabetes. Most women kept their glucose levels balanced through only by diet, but 2,566 also needed medication to stabilize the levels.
Only 1 percent of children whose mothers did not have gestational diabetes had neurological defects, but that number rose to 1.4% in those whose mother had the diabetes treated only by diet and exercise, and 1.7% in those whose mother only took medication.
The findings indicate that exercise and diet, combined with medication when necessary, are essential to avoiding neurological defects which can lead to autism, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, according to research published in the prestigious American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The reports of gestational diabetes are on an upward progression and the condition impacts the health of both the mother and child as the baby develops, according to the team of authors led by Prof. Eyal Sheiner, chairman of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Soroka and vice dean at BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences
Excessive sugar in the bloodstream leads to the fetus becoming very large.
Expectant mothers can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy food, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal soon after the baby is born, but it also puts mothers at risk of developing type II diabetes, so they should monitor their weight and blood sugar on a regular basis.
This is me. I am recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic I suspect because of having this condition while pregnant over 13 years ago. Oy!
But I am not alone. Experts estimate that 6 to 7 percent of all pregnant women have diabetes and that 90% of those cases are gestational. Once they develop gestational diabetes, they are at significant risk of developing glucose intolerance in their lifetime; about half will become diabetic in the two to three decades after delivery.
I am watching my diet now and trying to exercise more so I do not join the statistic of those who get the full blown disease. Eek!
Sheiner says the big take away from his team’s research is for practitioners, women and their doctors and the medical community to be aware of the long term effects of gestational diabetes and that it could impact the baby’s neurological development as well as the mom’s.
I was told that my son is also at a high risk of developing diabetes because he essentially had it with me while I was pregnant with him. So this study shows an additional long-term risk to the child.
“In addition,” he said, “one must remember that pregnancy is a window of opportunity to diagnose chronic diseases in the baby. The results also stress the importance of balancing glucose levels when gestational diabetes is diagnosed, as large amounts can cause neurological complications.”
Take heed moms-to-be. Watch your sugar intake while preggers and if you are diagnosed, please change your diet and exercise! Thanks. We need you to deliver healthy babies. (smile)