All mothers in the world want to have a healthy baby, so mothers’ health before and during pregnancy is very important! According to the data in 2016, 1 out of every 5 pregnant women in Hong Kong suffers from gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Mothers with GDM have a higher chance of giving premature birth, and the risk of having preeclampsia and type 2 diabetes is 7 times higher than normal. For the baby, his/her risk of developing type 2 diabetes and being overweight will also be increased in the future.
GDM has no symptoms and is very common. Even people who are not obese or lack of exercise may suffer from GDM. In fact, GDM is preventable. By understanding the innate foundation of your body, coupled with early detection to understand your current health status, personalized prevention can be applied.
The following are some frequently asked questions by the mothers-to-be, and we will answer each myth one by one!
Myth 1) How do I know if I am at high risk of GDM?
Ans: High risk group of GDM is as below:
Have family history of diabetes
Have history of GDM or polycystic ovary syndrome
People with diabetes
Myth 2) Does GDM only affect blood glucose during pregnancy?
Ans: No. Studies have shown that one in three pregnant women with gestational diabetes will maintain high blood glucose levels for 6 to 12 weeks after delivery. And mothers with GDM history have a 7 times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, so we must not take it lightly!
Myth 3) How does the high blood glucose level affect me and my baby during pregnancy?
Ans: For mothers, high blood glucose levels will increase the risk of having high blood pressure and preeclampsia, and also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes after delivery. For the baby, staying in high blood glucose environment will increase the chances of macrosomia and premature birth, which may even be life-threatening. It will also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases after growing up.
Myth 4) I have done T21 and prenatal examination, can it help me prevent GDM?
Ans: T21 is to detect whether the fetus suffers from Down syndrome and other chromosomal related diseases. The prenatal examination is to diagnose whether pregnant women have genetic diseases (such as thalassemia), rubella antibodies and other diseases that will infect the baby. Therefore, only T21 and general prenatal examination cannot predict GDM risk. Studies have shown that about 1 in 700 newborns will have Down syndrome, but about 1 in 7 pregnant women will develop GDM. Thus, GDM testing is also very important and should not be ignored.
Myth 5) Are there any tests for GDM in the market?
Ans: Pregnant women are advised to take oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) during the 24th-28th weeks of pregnancy to diagnose whether you have suffered from GDM. But OGTT is only a diagnostic tool which cannot help preventing or predicting GDM. It will be too late to know when you have already suffered.
Myth 6) How do I choose between these tests for GDM prevention?
Ans: There are some genetic tests on the market that can help women predict the GDM risk. When choosing a test, you should consider the reliability of the test and whether it is supported by local clinical data. In addition, even if there is no GDM during pregnancy, diabetes may also be developed after delivery. Therefore, it will be more comprehensive if the risk of developing diabetes after delivery can also be predicted at the same time. For details, please consult your obstetrician or endocrinologist.
For the health of the baby and mother, understand your physical condition as early as possible!
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