Health + Wellness

What Every Black Woman Needs To Know About Gestational Diabetes

gestational diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 10 percent of those who get pregnant will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Since they didn’t have diabetes before getting pregnant, it’s unlikely that they would be prepared for what comes with this illness. However, if you know what to look for, you won’t be unaware and can work with your doctor to ensure a healthy pregnancy. 

Why Black Women Should Be Careful

Studies regarding the disparities in diabetes screening for pregnant women showed some alarming information for Black Americans. Though Black people technically have the same risk of developing gestational diabetes as other ethnicities, the statistics show that they’re less likely to be screened at the same rate. This lack of screening still occurs even if the person has conditions like high blood pressure and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that make them more likely to have gestational diabetes. 

To make matters worse, Black Americans who are screened might not get an immediate diagnosis of diabetes despite having abnormal readings. A late diagnosis can mean that there are significant health complications during and after the pregnancy.

RELATED: Positive & Pregnant: How To Keep Yourself & Your Baby Healthy

The Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes

Unlike other forms of diabetes, many people with gestational diabetes don’t have any symptoms. At most, you may have increased thirst, frequent urination, nausea, and fatigue. Unfortunately, this might not be obvious when you’re pregnant. This is why it’s so important for everyone to be screened.

Additionally, if you have high blood pressure, prediabetes, a history of having babies over nine pounds, and heart disease, you need to ask your doctor about screening for gestational diabetes. 

How The Condition Is Handled

If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you’ll likely have more frequent visits with your doctor to keep track of your blood sugar and overall health. They may refer you to a nutritionist to ensure that your diet isn’t making your diabetes worse and to manage your weight.

While you can’t get rid of diabetes while pregnant, it’s possible to stop its progress. Some other changes you may need to make include learning to test your blood sugar levels and the signs that you’re in a crisis. 

You may also be required to take insulin or other medication and to maintain an exercise routine. Your doctor will help you determine what kind of physical activity will be safe for you at varying stages of pregnancy.

Apart from checking your blood sugar, your doctor will also check that you aren’t developing diabetic complications such as

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