Gestational Diabetes & Type 2

Question: I had gestational diabetes with my second child. How do I make sure and prevent type 2 diabetes for me and my child?

Answer: Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy and causes a lifelong risk for diabetes. Children of women with a history of gestational diabetes are also at risk, especially if they are overweight. But families can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

If you had gestational diabetes, you can prevent type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight, by being more physically active, and by making healthy food choices. Your child can lower his or her risk for type 2 diabetes if they do not become overweight.

Tips for Mothers

  • If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, then every 1 to 2 years.
  • Breastfeed your baby. It may lower your child's lifelong risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Be physically active at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Eat smaller portions of healthy foods.
Tips for the Family
  • Set a good example for your children by eating a variety of healthy foods from each food group. Remember: babies and toddlers require fat for brain development, so don't start low-fat dairy before 2 years of age.
  • Provide nutritious foods and let your child choose. Enjoy at least 1 meal together each day and celebrate with seasonal, locally grown foods.
  • Help your children be physically active at least 60 minutes a day. Limit TV and video and computer game time.
  • Limit sweetened beverages like soda and fruit drinks. Instead, choose water.
To learn more family tips, register for PeaceHealth Southwest's "Small Steps For A Healthy Family" class by calling (360) 514-2190 or registering online.

Published September/October 2009, Southwest Health
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