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National Diabetes month is committed to bring attention to diabetes, a disease that affects over 29 million people in the US. The theme for 2018 is promoting health after gestational diabetes. Diabetes developed during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) is unique and difficult for women because it not only affects the mother but has consequences for the unborn child as well.

Gestational diabetes generally develops around the 24th week. It does not mean you had diabetes before conception or that you will have it after delivery but health risks are there for both mother and child.

Difficulties during pregnancy include miscarriage or macrosomia, “fat” baby which can cause shoulder injury during birth or breathing problems due to glucose levels.  Many mothers develop hyperglycemia during pregnancy. Approximately 50% of women with gestational diabetes do go on to develop Type 2 diabetes. They are also more likely to have a heart attack and at a younger age than those women without diabetes. Your child may also have a greater chance of being obese and developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Here are 3 recommendations if you have developed Gestational Diabetes from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health:

  1. UNDERSTAND YOUR RISK: Since roughly ½ of women with Gestational Diabetes will go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes, the recommendation is to be tested within 12 weeks of giving birth. If it is normal, you should be retested every 3 years.
  2. NOTIFY YOUR CHILD’S PHYSICIAN: Your child’s physician may want to monitor her overall health and growth charts more carefully.
  3. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH: Making healthy food choices and staying active as a family will help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

Health care providers are well versed in gestational diabetes. The keys are information, preparation, communication and monitoring before, during and after delivery. NHS Solutions has a deep pool of Women & Children’s Interim Nurse Leaders. They are exceptionally qualified to step into a leadership gap and bring their expertise to all aspects of the women & children’s department, including care for gestational diabetes. Contact us for your interim leadership women & children’s need as well as any need across the spectrum on healthcare specialties.