Diabetes test urged for mums-to-be

01:52, Nov 09 2012
diabetes stand
Jane McDonald has gestational diabetes and talks to antenatal clinic co-ordinator Karen Janes about it.

For Waitara's Jane McDonald, pregnancy cravings will have to go unindulged as she watches what she eats after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Mrs McDonald is one of 79 Taranaki women who have been identified as having the temporary form of diabetes in the last 10 months.

Antenatal clinic co-ordinator at Taranaki Base Hospital Karen Janes said it was 6.2 per cent of the 1272 deliveries, and is a figure understood to be on the rise.

Getting to see a midwife in the early months of pregnancy and taking the time get tested for gestational diabetes were important, she said.

Gestational diabetes left undiagnosed and untreated or uncontrolled could result in increased risk for both mother and baby.

"It can make the baby too big or too small.


"It increases the chance of stillbirth and could cause miscarriage or spine, heart or kidney problems."

Although an initial test came back within the average range, Mrs McDonald also took a two-hour-long glucose test because her baby had put on a significant amount of weight in a fortnight.

"He was 7lbs [3.1kg] which is big for 35 weeks.

"I know the time it takes can put some people off but I would really recommend all pregnant women make the time to get it done."

She said she had taken her 4 - year-old son to the test with her.

"The staff were just great at keeping him entertained," she said.

Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and goes away after the baby is born, though mothers have a 50-60 per cent increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes later on and need annual testing.

Risk factors for pregnant women are: being over 40, having a body mass index of more than 30, a family history of diabetes and ethnicity.

Women of Indian, Asian, Maori and Pacific Island descent are more at risk.

November 13-19 is diabetes awareness week.

Taranaki Daily News