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Gestational diabetes is on the rise – what you need to know

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Gestational diabetes is on the rise – what you need to know

According to the AOK, gestational diabetes is on the rise in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In 2021, every seventh pregnant woman received this diagnosis, according to the AOK Nordost after evaluating its own data. In 2016 it was only every twelfth. That’s an increase of 70 percent.

A so-called gestational diabetes means a risk for the course of the pregnancy. Age and obesity are risk factors. If gestational diabetes is not treated, there is a risk of premature birth, a high birth weight of the child or adjustment disorders after birth.

More and more pregnant women are at risk for diabetes

The gynecologist at the AOK Medical Center for Health in Berlin, Kerstin Runiewicz, explained: “I’m seeing more and more pregnant patients who are at risk, for example because they are overweight or obese or because they don’t move enough.”

In addition, the age of pregnant women is increasing. According to the cash register, mothers from MV with AOK insurance were on average 29.4 years old when their child was born in 2016, and then 30 years old in 2021. While only 3.5 percent of women who had a child between the ages of 20 and 29 were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the figure was around 14 percent for those aged 30 to 39 and around 24 percent for those over 40 percent, as it was called. This information relates to the years 2016 to 2021.

More testing for gestational diabetes

According to the AOK, another reason for the increase in numbers is that testing for gestational diabetes is more common today than it used to be. In the meantime, all pregnant women in Germany must be offered a test for gestational diabetes in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.

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According to the information, pregnant women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are recommended to change their lifestyle and have their sugar levels regulated by a diabetologist. In the best-case scenario, complications can thus be prevented.

The AOK Nordost is the largest health insurance company in MV. According to the information, around every fourth person in the federal state is insured with the AOK Nordost.

What to do with gestational diabetes?

“In the case of gestational diabetes, the mother-to-be should first check her diet,” says the “Diabinfo” portal. In about 70 to 80 percent of cases, a change in diet is enough to achieve good blood sugar levels. Nutrition or diabetes counseling can help. The aim is to avoid a high and rapid rise in blood sugar after eating. According to the portal, experts recommend the following tips:

Divide your meals into three main meals and three snacks. Since the rise in blood sugar is greatest in the morning, you should consume fewer carbohydrates at breakfast than at lunch or dinner. If your blood sugar level is high in the morning, avoid high-sugar foods at breakfast. Wholemeal bread with cheese or muesli made from cereal flakes with yoghurt and quark are better. The general rule is: Eat as little sugary food as possible – and also make sure that you drink it.

At the same time, you should get enough exercise: “A brisk 30-minute walk helps here,” according to the portal. This also counteracts excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

“If the blood sugar levels cannot be reduced sufficiently by changing your lifestyle, insulin treatment comes into play,” it continues. On average, this applies to one in four women. This is done in consultation with a doctor.

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