Pregnant women must be extra careful towards the sugar level in their blood as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can pave way for more serious diseases, including cardiovascular disorders. According to doctors, the chance of developing a heart disease is nearly double in women who have experienced gestational diabetes in the past.

Having gestational diabetes means the would-be mother has high blood sugar levels, but those levels were normal before she became pregnant. GDM usually develops between 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy and goes away after childbirth.

“With appropriate steps, gestational diabetes is unlikely to impact a child. Out of all the pregnancies at our hospital, nearly 10% women develop gestational diabetes and deliver perfectly healthy baby. However, GDM increases the chances of type 2 diabetes in these women. Besides, it has been observed that most of these women are overweight or obese and hence, they risk developing metabolic disorders since hormones are in flux during pregnancy. Together, women with prior gestational diabetes are exposed to increased risk of developing cardiac issues,” says Dr.SavitaBansal,Senior ConsultantObstetrics &Gynaecology, Fortis La Femme,Jaipur.

The onset of cardiovascular diseases is 10 years delayed in women as compared to men, mainly because women in the reproductive age enjoy the protective effect of estrogen hormone that diminishes with age – menopausal and post-menopausal women have an aggravated risk profile than men in the same age group.

“Research has shown that in non-European women, including Indian women, impaired glucose metabolism and the metabolic syndrome are more prominent. This calls for an urgent need to develop strategies for cardiometabolic disease prevention. Diabetic women have a four-to six-fold increased risk of developing coronary artery disease. However, lactating women may get some protection due to breastfeeding their child. In addition to that, new mothers and those who plan to become one should adopt lifestyle modification measures such as dietary improvisation, including physical activity in daily routine, and reducing stress in their lives,” says Dr.Savita Bansal.

Metabolic disorders are expedited due to metabolic syndrome, a group of five risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. The five risk factors are:increased blood pressure (greater than 130/85 mmHg), excess fat around the waist, high blood sugar levels (insulin resistance), low levels of good cholesterolor HDL, and high triglyceride levels. Having any one of these increases the chance of cardiovascular disease.

The telling symptoms of gestational diabetes are excessive thirst, fatigue, excessive urge to urinate, snoring, and blurred vision. The risk factors for women include aged more than 25, personal or family history of diabetes, and a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

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