Rates of Gestational Diabetes Rise
Diabetes is on the rise in the general population, and pregnant women are not escaping the trend. Over the last 30 years or so, gestational diabetes has risen nearly 4 percent among white and minority women, new research reveals.
Dr. Kelly Hunt, a representative of the Medical University of South Carolina, looked at data from 1980 to 2008 and found that rates of gestational diabetes increased from 5 percent to 8.7 percent among whites, and from 5.7 percent to 9.7 percent among blacks. The higher rates of diabetes were due at least in part to the increase of type 2 diabetes in blacks. Over the years, the data show the difference between blacks and whites is widening. Hunt presented this data at the Obesity Society in San Antonio this month.
Due to the impact on the health of the infant, many obstetrical doctors are informing their pregnant patients of the dangers of poor diabetes management during pregnancy. Hunt says this increased awareness is a good thing:
"One thing that's good is that the awareness of diabetes during pregnancy has increased a lot in the past 20 years, which is important because you want either pre-pregnancy diabetes or gestational diabetes to be treated during pregnancy so that the impact on the infant is minimized."
Early Intervention is Key
Hunt asserts that there are several reasons for the rise in gestational diabetes. Diabetes rates increased in the general population and many women are waiting until their 30s or later to have children. Nevertheless, Hunt asserts that this data shows that:
"More interventions are needed, both to reduce the prevalence of diabetes prior to pregnancy and to prevent women who have gestational diabetes from subsequently developing type 2 diabetes... The take-home message is that we have a lot more work to do and with the obesity and diabetes epidemics, we really need to be thinking about how they're impacting the next generation."