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In the first part of this series, we covered the common risks of gestational diabetes in women during and after pregnancy. Let us now review what women can do to prevent or overcome the risks of this increasingly worrying condition that puts both the mother and baby at risk.
As the causes are not exactly known, there are no guaranteed measures to prevent gestational diabetes. Leading an active and healthy lifestyle, both before and during pregnancy, is one of the best bets in avoiding this condition. A healthy lifestyle also reduces the likelihood of having gestational diabetes in a future pregnancy or developing Type 2 diabetes in future.
Here are some simple tips that women must focus on during their pregnancy.
According to the KK Hospital (KKH) website, “the Temasek Foundation GDM Care pilot programme offers screening to pregnant patients at KKH between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation, facilitating early detection, intervention and education for those diagnosed with GDM”.
Pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes can enroll in a course led by KKH Diabetes Nurse Navigators, where they are educated on the disease and making requisite lifestyle changes as well as manage and their blood sugar levels.
Since women with gestational diabetes are at a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, they are given the opportunity to undergo routine check-up at a polyclinic of their choice six weeks after delivery. An annual follow-up is offered for the next three years for women whose gestational diabetes has resolved, while those who develop Type 2 diabetes receive additional support at the polyclinic.
New mothers can also avail of the innovative ‘I-Poly’ system that allows Diabetes Care Navigators to help with arranging follow-up appointments and coordinate with polyclinics to encourage attendance.
It is unfortunate that despite the risks posed by gestational diabetes, over 90 per cent reportedly do not undergo regular check up to monitor their diabetes condition after delivery. We hope with greater awareness and the support available, we will see a reduction in gestational diabetes in Singapore in the near future.
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