Women who suffer Gestational diabetes, the kind that is diagnosed during pregnancy and goes away after birth, have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after giving birth. Investigators at Seoul National University and other centers of research in Seoul, South Korea, looked at what characteristics might lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes in women with a history of Gestational diabetes.Their study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinological Metabolism in March 2013, included 843 women who had been diagnosed with diabetes during their last pregnancy…2 months after giving birth 105, or 12.5 percent, of the participants had developed full-blown Type 2 diabetes.
1 year later 88 more women had newly developed cases.Those who developed diabetes during the first two months tended to have:a higher body mass index (BMI),
higher blood sugar levels,
lower blood insulin levels, and
a lower functioning pancreasthan those who did not develop the condition. Those who developed Type 2 diabetes later, also had a high body mass index and high blood sugar levels, but a normally functioning pancreas. One other difference was in their genetic makeup.It was suggested that the differences in pancreatic function might be caused by the different genes seen in the two groups.Like Type 2 diabetes, Gestational diabetes tends to be a disease of developed nations. According to the National Institutes of Health in the United States…2 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are complicated by Gestational diabetes.
5 to 10 percent of women who have had diabetes during pregnancy, convert to Type 2 diabetes shortly after giving birth.
35 to 60 percent will develop the full-blown condition in the following 10 to 20 years. The causes of Gestational diabetes are complex and not yet fully understood. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy make it more difficult for insulin to do its job. Being overweight or obese can also make it difficult for insulin to do its work. The genetics of why some women get diabetes during pregnancy and why some do not, and why some progress onto Type 2 diabetes while others do not, will gradually be unravelled over time so that treatment can be better tailored in individual patients.Until more information is available, all women need to approach pregnancy in as fit a state as possible. Normalizing weight before conception and getting the recommended amount of exercise are two ways every woman can minimize her chances of developing Gestational diabetes.