Avoid Gestational Diabetes in Second Pregnancy

If you had gestational diabetes during your first pregnancy, you are at an increased risk for developing the same problem in your second pregnancy.

“After a woman with gestational diabetes delivers her baby, her doctor will check her blood glucose levels at six to eight weeks postpartum,” says Naomi L. Wahl, MD, FACOG, perinatologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner. “Even if her levels are normal, she should repeat the test every three years because she is at increased risk for developing diabetes.”

Once you become pregnant again, you still need to be very careful about what you eat. “It is a myth that a pregnant woman can eat whatever she wants because she is eating for two,” says Wahl. “When you become pregnant, you should only be consuming about 300 extra calories per day.”

The following are guidelines from the Institute of Medicine for how much a woman should gain during pregnancy:

  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 – 24 to 35 pounds
  • BMI of 25 to 29.9 – 15 to 25 pounds
  • BMI over 40 – 11 to 20 pounds

BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by her height in meters squared. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. If you have a BMI between 25 and 29.9, you are considered overweight, and if your BMI is 30 or more, you are obese. To achieve a normal BMI, you may need to lose weight and be more active after childbirth.

“A woman who gains 60 pounds during her pregnancy is much more likely to develop gestational diabetes than a woman who gains the recommended amount of weight,” says Wahl. “Your doctor should be able to give you dietary recommendations and talk to you about the appropriate number of protein and carbohydrate servings you need each day.”

“While most women who have gestational diabetes have healthy babies,” Wahl continues, “you may be at increased risk for a traumatic birth, have a large baby and also have a baby with problems after birth such as low blood sugar.”