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New Moms Can Prevent Diabetes by Keeping Up Healthy Habits

Picture of a mother holding her baby next to her Some women get diabetes when they are pregnant. Doctors call this gestational (jes-TAY-shun-al) diabetes. Most of the time, it goes away after your baby is born. Even if the diabetes goes away after your baby is born, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and your child from that pregnancy may have a greater chance of being obese and getting type 2 diabetes.
But there is good news. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and keep your child from that pregnancy healthy. Get tested regularly for diabetes, keep at a healthy weight, and be more active.

Gestational diabetes affects at least 7 percent and possibly as many as 18 percent of pregnancies in the United States. It occurs more often in women with a family history of diabetes, overweight or obese women, and Latina, African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native women.

If you were told you had diabetes during your pregnancy, you should get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If the test results show that your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes, also called prediabetes, get tested for diabetes every year. Otherwise, you should plan to get tested every 3 years.

In addition to getting tested for diabetes after your child is born, women with a history of gestational diabetes should also talk to their doctor if they plan on becoming pregnant again.

Children of women who had gestational diabetes may also have a greater chance of becoming obese and getting type 2 diabetes later in life. Tell your child’s doctor that you had gestational diabetes while you were pregnant with that child. This is an important part of your child’s health history.

Research shows that losing weight by maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help a woman with a history of gestational diabetes prevent type 2 diabetes. Try to reach and keep a healthy weight by making healthy food choices and being active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You may also need to take medicine such as metformin to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle as a family is good for everyone. It helps both mom and child manage their risks for getting diabetes in the future.

To learn more about keeping yourself and your child healthy, download or order NDEP’s Did You Have Gestational Diabetes When You Were Pregnant? What You Need to Know tip sheet. Visit It’s Never Too Early…To Prevent Diabetes or call 1-800-860-8747.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


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April 2013

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