Gestational diabetes is now the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia

Gestational diabetes - the epidemic posing an immediate threat to thousands of pregnancies, and a future threat to the health of mothers, babies and families.


Health experts today warned of the alarming increase in gestational diabetes which in the past 12 months has affected 38,000 Australian women during pregnancy.


"In the last ten years, more than 200,000 women have developed gestational diabetes. Latest projections show that over the next decade more than 500,000 women could develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy," said Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia.


Today (14 November) is World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Australia has warned that gestational diabetes is now the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia.


"Importantly, gestational diabetes poses a dual threat - firstly without appropriate management and care, it can be a serious risk to mother and baby during the pregnancy, and secondly it poses a serious future risk for both mother and baby developing type 2 diabetes and other health issues," he said.


"After gestational diabetes, women are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and children born to mothers who have gestational diabetes are also at an increased risk of being overweight or obese, or developing type 2 diabetes later in life."


"The alarming increase in number of women developing gestational diabetes presents an intergenerational diabetes issue and threatens to make the type 2 diabetes epidemic even bigger in future."

"Our latest projections suggest that gestational diabetes could trigger over 250,000 women to develop type 2 diabetes or prediabetes in the coming decade."


"Developing gestational diabetes is one of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes and we need to ensure Australian mums and families get the support they need after gestational diabetes to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. We need to break this intergenerational cycle of diabetes."


A/Professor Alison Nankervis, an Endocrinologist at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women's Hospital said the short term complications for mother and baby can be serious, but the risk of complications can be reduced with good treatment and care.


"Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born. The abnormal blood glucose levels can affect both the mother and baby," A/Professor Nankervis said.


"The condition makes pregnancy higher risk for both. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to be born prematurely or via C-section, be larger babies, have shoulder dystocia and a range of other complications."

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