A new study released this last December 21 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that thousands of U.S. women may develop diabetes during pregnancy, yet go undiagnosed and untreated, putting both their own and their baby's health at risk. About a third of women are not currently screened, and 19% of those who ARE diagnosed receive no follow up in the 6 months after giving birth. The study was based on an analysis of more than 900,000 pregnant women.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, and is associated with several health related risks, including birth defects, premature birth, and pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening blood pressure condition that threatens both mother and child during birth. Furthermore, as many as half of the women who develop gestational diabetes will go on to develop full-blown diabetes. Medical guidelines recommend that women receive a follow-up screening between 6 and 12 weeks postpartum.
In separate research published earlier in December by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it was found that 6.4% of the 4.2 million women who gave birth that year (or around a quarter-million) had either pre-existing diabetes or developed it during their pregnancy.
Controlling diabetes during pregnancy through healthy diet, exercise and by watching blood sugar can ensure a healthy pregnancy, since "even a slight inability to control blood sugar during pregnancy has a direct impact on your body and your health," says Jon Nakamoto, author of the first study.
On a related note...
Babies & Formula
Past research has shown that formula-fed babies gain more weight than breast-fed babies, which might set them up for obesity down the road. A recent study in PLoS One suggests that formulas based on cows' milk may add even more pounds than soy or protein-based formulas, even though they contain the same amount of calories. The reason is that protein-based formulas are broken down earlier, signaling to the digestive system that the meal is nearly over. Infants who receive other formulas may get that signal later, and thus feed longer.