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July 31, 2000

Family Planning, Gestational Diabetes

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Question from Bloomington, California, USA:

I am a 29 year old mother of two (ages six and three). I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies. During the second one, I was on insulin injections from the fourth month on. My doctor scared me when he told me the risks of having another child. He told me that I would start the pregnancy with diabetes and would have a very high chance of developing type 1 for the rest of my life. I have been afraid to consider having another child. At present time, I weigh 160 pounds and I’m 5 feet 4 inches tall. My pre-pregnancy weight the other 2 times was around 140 pounds. I would love to have a third child, but I am afraid of the risks to myself and the baby. What would the risks of having another child be? Is it really is too dangerous to consider?

Answer:

From: DTeam Staff

You are at risk of having gestational diabetes with future pregnancies. Also, your lifetime risk of developing diabetes is increased significantly, but not an absolute. Having a third child should not necessarily increase your lifetime risk. However, you can minimize your risk with weight reduction, exercise and proper diet. People who develop diabetes later in life after having gestational diabetes are not type 1, but are classified as type 2. Often, such patients do well on oral hypoglycemic agents.

OWJ