Gestational Diabetes Risk - 8 News NOW

Paula Francis, Anchor

Gestational Diabetes Risk

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Diabetes is a growing concern among expecting moms and their doctors. A new study says more than a third of women who suffer from diabetes during pregnancy develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Las Vegas resident Michelle wise is pregnant with her third child. And as a type 2 diabetic, she's taking time out for a consultation at the Desert Springs Diabetes treatment center. She's been cautioned that high blood glucose levels are not good for the baby.

"When I get pregnant, all of a sudden my levels start going all out of whack where they have to keep more of an eye on me," said Wise. "And specifically with this one, I know that after I show my doctor my last week's blood sugar results, he's going to be putting me on another medication."

As diabetes rises in the U.S., there are more women like Michelle who have to deal with diabetes while they're pregnant. Las Vegas physician, Stephen Wold specializes in complicated pregnancies. He says diabetes has become one of their biggest problems.

"We're now seeing more pregnant patients either with diabetes pre-existing before they get pregnant or certainly they become more susceptible to developing gestational diabetes," said Dr. Wold.

Gestational diabetes occurs in about 4-percent of all pregnant women -- at about 20 or so weeks into the pregnancy. Blood sugar levels must be monitored closely at this point to prevent harm to the child.

"And certain babies that get put a higher risk for still birth, depending how bad the gestational diabetes is," said Dr. Wold. 

Babies of women who already have diabetes are at a much higher risk for heart defects and spina bifida. Good diabetes control is key to avoiding such complications.

"In fact, they're quite rare in patients that are well controlled diabetics," said Dr. Wold. 

Gestational diabetes also increases the chances of a women needing a C-section.

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