A third of women unaware gestational diabetes increases future risk 12 March 2021 Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy are ten times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but only a third of women understand they are high risk, according to new research by the University of South Australia and University College of Dublin. Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia with 41,000 women diagnosed with the condition in 2019. The number of women diagnosed with the condition annually has more than doubled over the past decade. Diabetes Australia says a new approach to pre-pregnancy planning, support and management during pregnancy and post pregnancy is needed to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. The study involved a survey of 429 Australian women with a history of gestational diabetes and asked participants about issues such as their perceived risk of developing type 2 diabetes and potential barriers to weight loss. “The striking thing about the survey was how few (women who have had gestational diabetes) – only about 30% – actually realized that it set them up to have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes,’ said co-author, Professor Peter Clifton from the University of South Australia. The study found many women did not follow up with an oral glucose tolerance test within three months of delivery as advised. Professor Clifton understands why that may not be a priority for new mothers. “There are so many things to do when you go home with a new baby that there isn’t that much time to think about it,” he said. Close to a quarter of women in this study had not been tested for type 2 diabetes following a pregnancy with gestational diabetes. Diabetes Australia says the level of support and education available for women with GDM during pregnancy is inconsistent and often lacking. “Many women are unable to access support from dietitians with experience in pregnancy which is essential for managing blood glucose levels and ensuring optimal nutrition,” Professor Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia. “There is also good evidence that post pregnancy lifestyle support and care can improve both short and long-term health outcomes for the mother and child. This includes reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women who have had GDM.” Diabetes Australia is calling for a clear support and referral pathway for the coordinated postnatal care of women with GDM. Key points: · 1 in 3 women diagnosed with gestational diabetes unaware of future risks of developing type 2 diabetes · Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia. · Diabetes Australia is calling for more support, education and care for women with diagnosed with GDM.