• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Gestational diabetes affecting more pregnant women - experts

June 27, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Experts say gestational diabetes, which often happens in the third trimester of pregnancy, appears to be affecting more and more women. If gone unchecked, it can hurt both mom and baby.

"Every time I went to the doctor, I gained a ton of weight and I just never really thought anything of it," said Jenny Miura of Pasadena.

Like many moms-to-be, Miura thought her weight gain was normal until her doctor told her she had gestational diabetes and needed nutrition help.

"I was eating a lot of French fries, a lot of fried food, not as much protein as I should have been eating," said Miura.

Dietitian Susan Dopart wrote "Healthy You, Healthy Baby" in response to a growing number of gestational diabetes patients.

"What happens is the placenta starts making more hormones, which block the action of the insulin. So the insulin resistance, which may be kept to a minimum, gets bumped up to a much higher level," said Dopart.

Dr. Sheryl Ross, an obstetrician, says if it goes unchecked, the mom may pass on insulin resistance to the baby, as well as have issues during labor.

"And those complications would be increased risk of a cesarean section, a pre-term labor, or having a baby that's very large and certainly having a baby born with low blood sugar," said Ross.

But a bit of education can help.

"What we do is teach them something called blood glucose monitoring, where they check their blood sugars first thing in the morning and then one to two hours after the first plate of food," said Dopart.

Do that about four times daily.

"And that is a very powerful thing to do, because it shows them how much carbohydrate their body is able to handle," said Dopart.

Keep in mind that produce, dairy, grains and sweets are all carbohydrates, so it's important to know how much you can consume. Even healthy yams and brown rice affected Miura negatively. She now checks her blood sugar and started walking after meals.

"With exercise, the blood sugars can actually normalize within 10 days," said Dopart.

Load Comments