I used to read endless books on Pregnancy when I was pregnant and there were always chapters on things I had never thought about, gestational diabetes being one of them.  New information is out and after checking it out via our expert Gary Scheiner we decided to share it.

Pregnancy can be difficult enough without the added complications of health issues affecting the mother. For women who experience such difficulties, it is imperative that the complication is identified and addressed as soon as possible. Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women, is one such condition, and its associated risks include excessive birth weight and preterm birth.

With charity Diabetes UK recently describing diabetes as a national health emergency, law firm JMW has produced a new infographic to help show which types of women are at particular risk of gestational diabetes.

Weight

As with type 2 diabetes, being overweight is a significant contributory factor here. Gestational diabetes is caused when a pregnant woman’s body is unable to produce enough insulin to transport the higher-than-normal level of glucose in her blood. The risk of experiencing the condition is especially high for overweight women with a body mass index of 30 or above.

The infographic, however, explains it is not just obesity that places a woman at risk; there are various other factors to consider, many of which may not be immediately obvious.

Ethnicity

A woman’s ethnicity, for instance, can have a bearing on whether or not they are at risk of gestational diabetes. Even women who boast a healthy weight can be deemed at higher risk if they are of a certain descent, primarily South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern.

Age

Similarly, the likelihood of developing the condition can be determined by a woman’s age, with those who fall pregnant over the age of 25 at much greater risk than those who enter pregnancy at an earlier point in their lives.

Medical history

The medical history of a woman, and even that of her family, can also indicate whether or not the condition is something they should be worried about. If, for example, a woman suffers from prediabetes, she can be at increased risk of gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which an individual has slightly more blood sugar than the average person and can sometimes serve as a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

Family

Should a pregnant woman’s parents – and therefore the unborn child’s grandparents – have type 2 diabetes, the likelihood of her developing gestational diabetes can climb. Likewise, the risk is high if she has a brother or sister, or any other close family member for that matter, who suffers from type 2 diabetes.

Baby weight

As mentioned earlier, one of the associated risks of gestational diabetes is excessive birth weight. A woman who has previously given birth to a large baby – a label given to a newborn weighing more than 10lb or 4.5kg – is also deemed to be at increased risk of the illness as a consequence.

The infographic therefore illustrates it is not only women with a larger waistline who need to be wary of the threat of gestational diabetes. There are many different risk factors at play, so it is important anyone with any concerns addresses them by speaking to a medical professional who can give them the reassurance and guidance they need.

Often, there are no symptoms for gestational diabetes, but it is likely a woman will be screened for the illness at around eight to 12 weeks by a venous glucose sample as part of their first antenatal appointment. For those who are deemed to be at increased risk of the condition, it is likely they will be given the opportunity of undergoing a full test, which would usually take place between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.

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Created by JMW’s expert Clinical Negligence Solicitors.