- Aged over 30 (but I looked younger I’m sure!);
- Over weight or obese (extra rounded also counts); and
- Belonged to certain ethnic groups including Indigenous Australians, Torres Strait Islanders, Polynesian, Melanesian and Asian women (tick).
The other high-risk indicators are women who have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, and women who have had type 1 or 2 diabetes.
Like other conditions during pregnancy, symptoms often seem like normal ‘pregnancy’ signs. For gestational diabetes things to look out for include sudden weight gain, excessive thirst, thrush and frequently needing to use the bathroom.
All women are tested for GD midway through their pregnancy when their resistance to insulin might increase. The test is a simple glucose challenge that requires you to drink a sugary drink and sit quietly (well sit still at least) for an hour.
Blood sugar is tested before and after, and if it’s high after the hour you are then required to sit a similar but longer version of the test.
The good news first: through proper management you can have a healthy, full term pregnancy and you will probably pick up some excellent eating habits that will stick with you for life.
The news that’s a little bit scary: if not detected and managed you can increase your chances of a premature or still birth. Babies might suffer extremely low blood sugar levels following their birth and might need to be placed in the SCN.
Proper management of GD might include modifying your diet by adopting a low-GI style of eating, increasing exercise and monitoring your blood sugar levels when you wake and after you eat.
If that doesn’t pull your blood sugar levels into line then you may have to have insulin injections between one and four times a day. There is some good news with this too – it doesn’t hurt a bit.
Gestational diabetes effects 5-10 per cent of pregnancies.
If you have had gestational diabetes previously then your chances increase for subsequent pregnancies.
Glucose levels go back to normal following the pregnancy in 98 per cent of cases.
There is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life if you have had gestational diabetes or your mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with you.
If you are classified as high risk (you have type 1 or 2 Diabetes or have had Gestational Diabetes before) then you will be tested from around 12-14 weeks gestation.
If this is your first pregnancy and there is no reason to suspect you have gestational diabetes then you will be tested from around 24-28 weeks gestation.