Empower women and families after Gestational Diabetes

National Diabetes Month is upon us. This year’s focus is on promoting health after gestational diabetes. We all know the importance of screening for and addressing gestational diabetes during pregnancy—ensuring these women have a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator on their healthcare team. But, the care for these women does not stop after delivery. As healthcare providers, we know the increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in mothers who had GDM, and in their children, who also have increased risk of obesity as well. It is our role as educators to ensure that these mothers not only know about this risk, but also feel empowered with knowledge and healthcare support to act to reduce the risk.

Key messaging for women who have had GDM includes:

  1. Get tested for type 2 diabetes within 12 weeks after the baby is born. If the test is normal, retest every 3 years.
  2. Talk to their doctor if they plan to become pregnant in the future.
  3. Tell their child’s doctor if they have had GDM
  4. Keep up healthy habits for a lifetime to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

A parting thought on our role as educators in women with GDM—we need to convey the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes for their child AND also provide education on how to feed children. Parents are naturally concerned about their child’s health and want to make sure they grow up healthy. We must provide support to parents on how they can raise a child that learns to feed their self in a way that supports complete health and wellbeing for their future. It is our role to convey the risk while supporting new parents to implement evidence-based ways, such as Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsbility, to feed their families for optimal health and wellbeing.

Some patient resources:

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/gestational

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/health-tips-pregnant-women

https://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/

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