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Gestational diabetes must be monitored

Jul. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

When they were pregnant, Mariska Hargitay, Salma Hayek and Mariah Carey developed gestational diabetes; it's a form of diabetes that appears during pregnancy if a woman's body can't produce sufficient insulin or respond to the insulin she does produce. As a consequence, her blood sugar rises to levels that are dangerous for mother and child. That can happen if you're overweight before you become pregnant, if you have a family history of diabetes (Hayek's family does) or if you've gained excess weight while pregnant (Hargitay gained 54 pounds; Carey lost 70 after the birth).

If you have uncontrolled GD, your baby may be born with serious respiratory problems and hypoglycemia, and later on can develop obesity, heart problems and, yes, diabetes. Moms may remain diabetic after the birth (10 percent do) or develop type 2 diabetes later on (35 percent to 60 percent do). Fortunately, there are new recommendations to help you and your newborn avoid serious complications associated with high blood sugar levels.

Check for type 2 diabetes at your first prenatal doctor's visit and, if you don't have type 2, get screened for GD at 24 weeks. If you develop GD, stick to your prescribed diet: fruits and veggies, 100 percent whole grains, no refined carbs, no added sugars or sugar syrups, only healthy fats like olive and canola oil, and no red or processed meat. And get regular physical exercise; start walking at least 30 minutes a day. Take medication, if your doctor says it's necessary. Then you and your baby will have a longer and healthier life.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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