Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus almost guarantees you will be diabetic in the future, so you need to know how to prevent gestational diabetes.
To put things in perspective, being obese and at risk for GDM, but not actually being diagnosed with GDM had almost THIRTEEN times the risk of becoming diabetic in the future. That’s really, really high. But wait! There’s more! Being obese AND being diagnosed with GDM led to over FORTY-SEVEN times higher risk. Nothing is certain, but this is one of the highest risks I think I’ve ever seen.
A more recent study threw elevated blood pressure during pregnancy into the mix as well and found that, in pregnant women who had experienced hypertension during their pregnancy, the later risk of developing diabetes was 508% higher. Interestingly, when they looked at the combination of hypertension, elevated cholesterol and obesity, the risk for progression to diabetes was again staggering 39.5 times higher risk. Maybe not as high as the previously mentioned study, but still strikingly high.
Given these numbers, any women diagnosed with diabetes of pregnancy needs to understand that the rest of their lives needs to be lived within the context of avoiding diabetes and making appropriate lifestyle choices. If this is not taken into consideration, you can pretty much plan on becoming diabetic in the future.
Of course, the best option is to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus in the first place. Clearly an anti-diabetic lifestyle is key here. Some key elements include:
- Continue with exercise, most likely some type of short-burst aerobic exercise
- Avoid refined carbohydrates / high fructose corn syrup, processed foods and high calories
- If an 8-yr-old can’t read the label, don’t buy it
- NO artificial sweeteners – Splenda, sucralose, Nutrasweet, aspartame, acesulfame K
- Avoid chemicals present in things like bottled water, flame retardants, bug / weed killer and Teflon
- Add olive oil, no added oil nuts, wild caught salmon
- Variety of fruits and veggies- 8-10 servings/ day
This particular study gives us an eighth option.
Researchers looked at vitamin D levels and their relationship to the diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus. The findings are pretty clear cut.
Women with levels below <25 nmol/L 220% more likely to develop pregnancy related diabetes.
25 nmol / L is a pretty low cutoff. I personally prefer 60 or higher. To get here, most patients would need to supplement at least 4-6,000 IU / day of emulsified D3 to get to this level. I know that in our office, this translates to about $20 for the entire term of the pregnancy. Pretty inexpensive protection.
If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus, had anyone explained to you how great your risk of developing diabetes was in the future?