Is gestational diabetes permanent?

Is gestational diabetes permanent?

Ridhima was inconsolable. She got pregnant for the first at the age of 32 after years of trying. But, something was not right. During her 27th week of pregnancy, she started experiencing the symptoms of gestational diabetes. Upon further investigation, she tested positive.

Thanks to the support of her mother and husband, Ridhima could deliver a normal child, but she still couldn’t accept the fact that gestational diabetes was temporary!

Gestational Diabetes & Advanced maternal age

In a recent study done, it was found out that women who attempt pregnancy at a later age are more prone to have gestational diabetes along with women who are obese and who smoke.

This is certainly a cause of concern as more working women prefer pregnancy at a later age and an advanced maternal age is linked to gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes increases the risk of macrosomia (high birth weight), stillbirths, respiratory distress syndrome, and the risk of the child getting diabetes later in life.  

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is generally managed with diet and exercise and only in some cases needs oral medications or insulin.

Myths of Gestational diabetes

For many pregnant women, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is still an enigma that cannot be understood. That’s why people have so many misconceptions regarding GDM.

  • GDM is rare: Gestational diabetes is becoming an increasingly common condition among Indians.
  • GDM can be managed completely with diet and exercise:  Though many GDM cases can be managed with diet and exercise, it needs the supervision of a diabetologist. In some cases, medications are needed.
  • Having GDM is a sign of ill health: A woman can have GDM if she has a family history of diabetes, if she is obese, and above 30 years.
  • With GDM, the risk of a birth defect is imminent: This is not necessary as proper management reduces the risks considerably.
  • GDM comes with clear symptoms: For most women, GDM is confirmed only after testing and they might not experience any symptoms.

To top all these myths, many women believe that gestational diabetes is permanent! This is incorrect.

Yes. Gestational diabetes certainly increases the risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life. But after delivery, the blood glucose levels of women with gestational diabetes comes back to the normal ranges.  

Finally, if you are planning pregnancy at an advanced maternal age, it is advisable that you don’t wait for the symptoms of gestational diabetes. Make it a point to talk to your doctor and get yourself tested.