Gestational Diabetes: Does Gestational Diabetes Repeat?

I am thinking about getting pregnant again, but I'm concerned because I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy and I'm concerned it will recur. I am still overweight but do aerobics and have cut sugars from my diet. Is gestational diabetes likely to repeat in subsequent pregnancies?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

I congratulate you on your motivation and perseverance in doing regular aerobic exercise and watching your diet. These are two of the best things you can do to prevent a future episode of gestational diabetes -- as well as becoming diabetic yourself later in life.

Chances of recurrence with your next pregnancy run about 30 to 50 percent, with a six to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes later in life, depending which study you read and how the disease is defined. Remaining overweight increases the chance of developing adult onset diabetes by 50 to 60 percent.

Pregnant women must follow a careful diet, as you know, be screened periodically for glucose levels and never exercise while fasting. Whether to continue an exercise regimen with your next pregnancy is something to discuss with your care provider. Research indicates that exercise is beneficial in carefully screened and monitored women. There is an excellent article on this topic that you may want to read in the "Journal of Nurse-Midwifery." The reference is: Avery,M. et al. (1994) Gestational Diabetes. Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 39(2), 9S-19S.

Keep up the great work.

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