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Gestational Diabetes On The Rise

December 4, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Gestational Diabetes On The Rise

Gestational Diabetes can impact the health of both an expectant mother and her baby.  But doctors say the number of women diagnosed with the condition is on the rise.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates gestational diabetes impacts between two and ten percent of all pregnancies.

Angie Nelsen's little girl, Kinley, is healthy. That's something Nelsen was concerned about while she was pregnant.

"I was still really worried about what it was going to do to the baby," Nelsen said.

Nelsen was diagnosed with gestational diabetes while she was pregnant with Kinley.

"I was on a low-carb diet, watch your sugar levels. There are certain fruits they don't want you to eat because they're higher in sugar," Nelsen said.

While you can have a healthy baby despite having gestational diabetes there are increased risks.

"Other complications of pregnancy can become more likely as well, high blood pressure and preeclampsia, which are some of the more common complications of pregnancy that can cause problems," Sanford Dr. Jeanne Hassebroek-Johnson said.

Not only does the mother face an increased risk of health problems but so does the baby, including birth defects and problems during delivery. So what exactly is the reason behind the rise in gestational diabetes?

"Probably most significantly, our poor diet and exercise habits and just the fact that people in general are heavier," Hassebroek-Johnson said.

Hassebroek-Johnson says whether you have gestational diabetes is not entirely within your control.  But eating right and exercising can help. That's something Nelsen has been working on, but her genetics may have also played a role.

"My mother has diabetes and so do my grandparents, so I'm working with them and getting ideas from them on how I can try to maintain it," Nelsen said.

Expectant mothers with gestational diabetes also face an increased risk of having diabetes later in life.

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