MedWatch Today: Risks of gestational diabetes to moms-to-be and their baby

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Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women. It can have a major affect on both mom and baby’s health if it is not controlled. We sat down with a local mother who was diagnosed with gestational diabetes early in her pregnancy. She said it’s been a life changing journey, but one she hopes will help her live a healthier life for both her and her baby.

Brenda Jaramillo has routine visits at the Community Diabetes Education center. The 29-week pregnant mom to be was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

“At 15 weeks when I got that call from my OB’s office that you, you’re a diabetic. Denial. No I don’t eat sugar all day long, that’s what my initial thought was. A person who’s diabetic, especially in pregnancy, you’re eating really bad food, that’s not me” described Brenda of her shock of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Most pregnant women aren’t tested for gestational diabetes until 24 weeks. But Brenda said her OBGYN suggested she get tested early because she had risk factors. Registered nurse Patricia Calderon explains, “Risk factors obviously, women that have had diabetes in a previous pregnancy. If your BMI or the weight is a higher weight before the pregnancy, family history of type 2 diabetes, and of course, people with certain ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk as well.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, those ethnic backgrounds most at risk of gestational diabetes are African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics.

“I’m Hispanic. My BMI was a little higher than it should have been, and just my family history. My dad is diabetic,” said Brenda.

Brenda said she was disappointed with her diagnosis, but she quickly learned gestational diabetes can affect many pregnant women.

Patricia said, “Usually caused by the placental hormones, changes in the hormones.”

At the Community Diabetes Education center, Brenda was put on a path to help her control her diabetes. Patricia is also a certified diabetes educator. She said Brenda has been encouraged to exercise.

“Any kind of physical activity’s a good way to bring blood sugars down as well,” stated Patricia.

And, Brenda was put on a meal plan, developed by Community’s dieticians.

Patricia added, “We talk about the timing of the meals, we talk about basic carbohydrates and how to balance your meals, how to combine your meals, in other words, not just eating carbs or not just eating certain foods, but you have to have pretty much a balance. You have to have vegetables, you have to have protein, you have to have some carbs.”

Brenda commented, “I’ve learned to focus on myself. So, I have my meals, my big three meals during the day and my three snacks and I’m constantly making sure I know what I’m eating, what I’m putting in my body.”

Brenda also checks her sugars between four to five times a day. Patricia said uncontrolled gestational diabetes can have damaging affects on both mom and baby. Babies may have problems with breathing, jaundice, and may have low blood sugar at birth. Babies can also grow at a faster rate, and a larger baby can cause mom to have a complicated delivery.

Brenda said she’s grateful for what she’s learned at the Community Diabetes Education center, not only for herself, but for her baby.

“I will keep this diet here on after, after baby’s born, modifications, and having a more active lifestyle as well,” ended Brenda.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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