Gestational diabetes grows more common, pointing to need for more preventive care
A new CDC analysis reveals that gestational diabetes has become a big problem over the last 30 years, especially as Americans became more sedentary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Longer-term trends, such as the climbing age of women giving birth and the shifting ethnic demographics of mothers, have also contributed to the growing prevalence of gestational diabetes, which can cause problems during delivery and create ongoing health complications for babies.
Experts say the research underscores a need for greater awareness, earlier diagnosis, and more providers trained to treat and manage the growing caseload.
Patient barriers to care such as the cost of glucose test materials and insulin supplies add another layer of challenge to the issue.
While dangerously high blood glucose levels are most common in the third trimester of pregnancy, specialists warn that gestational diabetes should not be dismissed as a short-term problem. As many as 70% of women who suffer from the condition develop type 2 diabetes within 20 years, and their children are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as well.