Gestational Diabetes | Fit Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy Weight-Gain Debate


Nearly 30 percent of American women today are obese when they begin their pregnancies. This means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, as would a 5-foot-4-inch woman who weighs 175 pounds. Now, how much weight these women should gain while pregnant is being debated.  

Real Life Stories: Pregnancy Complications

Being pregnant can result in unexpected medical conditions. Here, three mothers share the emotional and physical hurdles they faced along the way.

Rachel's Story

“The idea of a C-section scared me because it is major surgery.”  Rachel Rosen, Tarzana,  Calif.

Why Gestational Diabetes is On the Rise

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), or high blood sugar during pregnancy, used to be relatively rare, occurring in about 3 percent to 4 percent of pregnancies. But in recent years, the rate has doubled—now, up to 6 percent to 8 percent of moms-to-be are diagnosed with this prenatal complication. And new recommendations lowering the cutoff point for diagnosis may lead to an even more dramatic increase.

Glucose Screening

I just had my glucose screening test, which was certainly nothing to write home about, especially the third time around. I went to the lab and was promptly handed a bottle of an orange sugary drink and was told that I had five minutes to down the sucker.

Prenatal Exercise, Diabetes, Pregnancy

When your mom was pregnant with you, chances are she wasn’t running, pedaling a stationary bike or doing ball squats. Back then, doctors worried that exercise might harm the growing baby and discouraged pregnant women from breaking a sweat.

PrePregnancy Diabetes

Gestational diabetes often crops up in the third trimester, but doctors are also troubled by the rising number of women who begin pregnancy as diabetics. The percentage who conceived with pre-existing diabetes— either type I, commonly known as “childhood diabetes,” or type II, often referred to as “adult onset diabetes”—more than doubled between 1999 and 2005, from 0.8 percent to 1.9 percent. This is likely due to high rates of obesity, which contributes to type II diabetes.

Overweight and Pregnant: Why BMI Matters

Overweight women who want to get pregnant soon might want to reconsider their timing:  A higher BMI is associated with an increased risk of fetal death, stillbirth, and infant death, according to a JAMA review examining 38 studies on the topic. Researchers suggest women take these findings into consideration, if they're planning to conceive

Preconception Weight Loss


Weight loss can decrease your risk of gestational diabetes. If you were in your 20s, I would recommend that you try to lose weight before getting pregnant again. But since you are 35, my recommendation is to not delay conception by trying to lose weight first, as fertility decreases with age. You should consider consulting a registered dietitian about beginning a preconception nutritional program, as doing so may reduce your risk. Thirty minutes of daily exercise also should be incorporated into your routine, as research shows it can greatly reduce gestational diabetes risk.

Gestational Diabetes


Since you have a history of gestational diabetes, there is a strong likelihood that you'll develop it again, so you're wise to ponder your options. In the past, if diet and exercise did not bring blood-sugar levels under control, doctors prescribed insulinan effective treatment, but one that often required daily injections. Today, there's a medication called Glyburide that can be as effective as insulin. Since its taken orally, it is easier to administer than insulin injections. And because it does not cross the placenta, it poses no risk to the fetus.

Gestational Diabetes Test


Yes. Your overall health will undoubtedly benefit you and your baby, but since your history includes a first-degree relative who has diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes while pregnant. Testing you in the first trimester rather than the third--the standard for women without risk factors--is also important.