Gestational diabetes statistics during pandemic concern doctors in San Antonio, nationwide

South Texas numbers for diabetes during pregnancy are almost three times national average

SAN ANTONIO – The average percentage of pregnant women in South Texas with gestational diabetes is almost three times the national average.

That fact is even more concerning to health experts now that studies have shown people with diabetes or obesity who get COVID-19 have much worse outcomes.

Around the country, 7% of pregnant women are typically diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In South Texas, that number is closer to 20%, according to Dr. Patrick Ramsey, the chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and University Health System.

“I’ve certainly seen the reports of gestational diabetes are going up. And I think everybody’s speculating it’s the lockdown that’s forced us to eat out more often and have things delivered and not being out and about doing things to be active,” Ramsey said.

RELATED: How to manage diabetes during the pandemic

Gestational diabetes is diabetes diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy.

“If the moms have poor blood sugar control, their baby can grow very large. That could lead for a potential need for caesarian delivery, injury to mom during delivery or to the baby,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said his colleagues across the nation are on high alert because people with diabetes or obesity tend to fare worse when diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We do know that women who have gestational diabetes may be at increased risk for hospitalization,” he said.

Pregnancy does not increase your risk of getting COVID-19, but even pregnant women without gestational diabetes are said to have much worse outcomes if they are infected.

So listen up, moms-to-be: healthy habits are more important than ever.

“Be active. Get out and do your normal exercise routines, go out for walks in the park. Still maintain social distancing. Still wear your mask. Still do your hand sanitizing, but you can be out and do fun things,” Ramsey said.

Boosting your own physical and mental health keeps your baby safe and healthy.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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