Last Update: 09/11/2006 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly   Email This Page Email This Page  

How can I tell if I am likely to develop diabetes in the future?

Certain traits increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes within five years12 of having your baby. If you have one or more of the following, you should talk to your health care provider about type 2 diabetes:

  • You developed gestational diabetes before your 24th week of pregnancy.
  • Your blood sugar level during pregnancy was consistently on the high end of the healthy range.
  • Your blood sugar levels after the baby was born were higher-than-average, according to your health care provider.
  • You are in the impaired glucose tolerance category (see the After-Pregnancy Test Categories table).
  • You are obese, according to your health care provider.
  • You have diabetes in your family.
  • You belong to a high-risk ethnic group (Hispanic, African American, Native American, South or East Asian, Pacific Islander, Indigenous Australian).
  • You have had gestational diabetes with other pregnancies.
If you have any of these risk factors, it is even more important that you get tested yearly for diabetes. Remember that you can take steps to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, such as eating a low-fat diet, losing extra weight, and getting regular, moderate physical activity.

Plan your next pregnancy

If you know that you want to get pregnant in the future, have a blood sugar test up to three months before becoming pregnant to make sure you have a normal blood sugar level. If your blood sugar level is high, you may have developed type 2 diabetes without knowing it. As mentioned earlier in this booklet, high blood sugar early in the pregnancy (within the first eight weeks) can affect the developing body and organ systems of the fetus. It's important to get your blood sugar level under control before you get pregnant.

If you do get pregnant again, make sure your health care provider knows that you had gestational diabetes with your last pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes with one pregnancy, your risk13 of getting it with another pregnancy is about 36 percent.

You can control gestational diabetes

It may seem like a lot of work, but most women can successfully control their gestational diabetes and have healthy pregnancies. You can do it, too! Follow the treatment plan your health care provider designs for you. A healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth are the greatest rewards.