Each year in the United States, gestational diabetes is diagnosed in about 10% of all pregnancies. This type of diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. Elevated blood glucose and other symptoms can increase risk for both mother and child. Managing gestational diabetes can help you have a healthy pregnancy.

Why UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center?

The team at Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with prediabetes, diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy and any diabetes-related complications and conditions.

Our center is unique in that we offer care and treatment across the lifespan. Our multidisciplinary health care team includes certified diabetes care and education specialists, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, registered dietitians, pharmacists, and social workers. We have an education center that provides first-class, cutting edge diabetes education in individual and group settings. Appointments are available both in-person and via telehealth.

Our outpatient location at UK HealthCare – Turfland provides a convenient, single location where patients can easily access many of their related health care services. UK HealthCare – Turfland, which offers abundant free parking, is home to many other expert clinical health care providers, including those from primary care, urgent care, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology/MRI, ophthalmology and more.

UK HealthCare’s state-of-the-art electronic health record uses the MyChart patient portal for communication between provider and patient.

How do providers work together to best serve their patients?

  • A multidisciplinary team of providers and diabetes care and education specialists coordinate a specific treatment plan tailored to each patient.
  • A comprehensive medical record network coordinates care among your healthcare team, as well as with local and regional health care facilities. The MyChart portal tool promotes quick and effective communication with our patients. 
  • Pediatric and adult teams housed in the same clinic offers a smooth transition of care as pediatric patients reach adulthood and transfer care to the adult team.

Gestational diabetes often causes no symptoms. In some cases, though, gestational diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Excess fatigue, even after sleeping or resting
  • Increased need to urinate, beyond what’s normal during pregnancy
  • Increased thirst and hunger

Researchers aren’t entirely certain what causes gestational diabetes, but pregnancy hormones can interfere with the way insulin is used in the body. The condition is also more common among people with certain factors, including:

  • Being age 25 or older
  • Being Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino or Pacific Islander
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having a family history of diabetes, including a parent or sibling with the condition
  • Having had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy
  • Having high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Having polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Having prediabetes prior to pregnancy
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle

While there’s no foolproof way to prevent all cases of gestational diabetes, a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy lowers the risk.

  • Eat a nutritious diet. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eat more whole foods and home-cooked meals instead of processed foods, which often contain added sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
  • Move your body regularly. Experts recommend that pregnant people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as briskly walking, each week. In addition to formal exercise, simply moving around more can also help. Build in habits like taking the stairs, parking farther away from the door and walking, and taking regular walking breaks during the workday.
  • Get to a healthy weight before pregnancy. Talk with your medical provider about what a healthy weight looks like for you and how to reach that goal through regular exercise and a healthy diet.

People who develop gestational diabetes are at risk of other health issues, both during pregnancy and after. These complications may include:

  • High blood pressure during pregnancy, which can place extra stress on the heart and kidneys.
  • Increased risk of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies.
  • Preeclampsia, a serious medical condition that causes high blood pressure, organ injury and the possible need for immediate delivery.
  • Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

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