Are You At Risk of Gestational Diabetes?

Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition characterized by carbohydrate intolerance with varying degrees of severity that is first recognized during pregnancy, and may or may not be resolved after this. Its presence may be suspected if the pregnant woman has or has had certain factors that are considered of risk for developing the disease during pregnancy.

Pregnant women are classified into three risk groups for developing gestational diabetes:

• Low risk: pregnant women with ethnic group of low risk (mostly whites), normal weight at birth, age equal or less than 25 years, no history of diabetes in relatives of first grade (father, mother and brothers or sisters), normal weight (body mass index less than 25 kg/m2) before pregnancy, no history of poor pregnancy outcomes like abortion or loss of a baby before delivery. All these conditions must be met to be considered of low risk.

• Moderate risk: pregnant women who do not meet criteria for low or high risk.

• High risk: pregnant women with high risk ethnic group (such as African-Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and American Indians), severe obesity, history of diabetes in first-degree relatives, gestational diabetes or glucose intolerance in previous pregnancy, history of big baby at birth (a baby equal or more than 4 kg) or glucose in urine at this time. Other conditions have also been identified as risk factors for developing GDM, including systemic hypertension, history of the death of the baby in uterus and increased amount of amniotic fluid in the past or present.

For many years, the risk factors have been used to determine which women should undergo screening for gestational diabetes. Before 2011, screening was performed to high risk pregnant women at the first prenatal visit and between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation in women at low or moderate risk; and again in high risk women who had a normal result in the first visit. However the classification of risk is not currently being used to make screening for gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Experts have concluded that due to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes mellitus worldwide is best to perform the screening with a fasting glucose test and oral glucose tolerance test to all pregnant women at their first prenatal visit regardless of risk. This does not mean it does not matter if you have high risk or not; if you belong to the population at high risk of course you have more risk of gestational diabetes and must follow a proper diet plan and exercise during pregnancy to reduce your risk to a minimum.
By Orfa Reyes

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