Gestational diabetes: Staying healthy during pregnancy

Diabetes fourth-leading cause of death in Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO – Tuesday is World Diabetes Day.

According to the most recent numbers, diabetes is the fourth-leading cause of death in Bexar County.

In San Antonio, the staff at UT Health San Antonio is looking to bring awareness about gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

"During the pregnancy, you need to take good care of gestational diabetes," said Deborah Conway, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Health San Antonio. "It can impact the fetus and the newborn and the delivery process if it's not properly taken care of. It's also important after the delivery, because having gestational diabetes tells us something about the woman and her future health."

Vicky Montes went through two pregnancies with diabetes.

"It's already concerning having diabetes, having to take care of myself," Montes said. "But knowing I had a life inside of me, I had the babies to worry about. It puts more pressure on to what you're trying to do."

Montes was diagnosed with diabetes before her pregnancy. While she was pregnant, she had to check her blood sugar about seven times a day and was on insulin.

Conway said some women can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and if nothing is done, the fetus could get too much fuel from its mother.

"It's not a healthy, fat baby," Conway said. "It can actually be a very sick, fat baby, even full-term, and that can cause problems during the actual birth process. The baby is bigger than it was meant to be."

After pregnancy, it's important for mothers to get tested for diabetes again. If they are diagnosed at that point, diet and exercise and sometimes medication can help.

"The more you know, the better equipped you are to fight this thing and have a very good outcome," Montes said.

All pregnant women get screened for gestational diabetes. And even though some may have it during pregnancy, they may not have it once they deliver, so it's important to get screened again.

About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.