Gestational Diabetes Risks for Pregnant Women and Babies

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Morning Rounds

Dr. Ajay Bansal, gastroenterologist, The University of Kansas Cancer Center; medical director, Gastroenterology Cancers Prevention Clinic

  • New research published in JAMA questions the timing of colonoscopies. The study suggests that if you’re of average risk of colon cancer, and your first colonoscopy comes back clean, it might make sense to wait 15 years until your next one instead of 10.
  • Colon cancer begins from polyps in the colon, just like a mole in the skin, which can turn into melanoma. By doing colonoscopies, we can remove those polyps.
  • When people have negative findings on a colonoscopy and do not have any polyps when it was a good quality colonoscopy, it does seem that probably the intervals could be stretched to longer, but we still have to wait for more information.
  • Data has shown that the risk of colon and rectal cancers have increased over the past 10 years. And to prevent those cancers we need to start screenings earlier so we can find the cancer at the polyp state.
  • Those at higher risk mean they have a family history of polyps or colon cancer.
  • Colon cancer is truly preventable with regular screenings.

Focus Topic

Rebecca Ernesti, mom, treated for gestational diabetes

  • At 22 weeks of pregnancy, Rebecca failed a glucose test and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  • At first, she was very concerned, but was able to get more educated with her own research and the resources from her nurses and care team.
  • She had an aversion to meat, but a craving for carbs during pregnancy, so she had to adjust her diet.
  • The mental aspect of dealing with this was tough at first, but she was able to overcome the challenges and get on the right track.
  • Insulin treatment did help, and she took it morning and night. She had to check her blood sugar three times a day.
  • She recommends to others going through this to take it seriously, but don’t overstress about it.

Penny Peter, R.N., maternal fetal medicine clinic nurse, certified diabetes care and education specialist, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The risk to mom and baby is that the baby can grow very large. And as you can imagine, it's not healthy for babies to come out very large and it's also difficult for delivery, which can cause trauma for mom and for baby.
  • Also, if babies are exposed to that high blood sugar in the womb, when they are delivered, they have a hard time adjusting and regulating their own blood sugar. If it is uncontrolled, it can be pretty severe.
  • The CDC says between 2-10 percent of pregnant women get gestational diabetes and I feel like we're seeing it rise. People with a family history of diabetes are more prone to getting it.
  • We provide education on gestational diabetes -- what caused it and then how to manage it. So, we have a dietitian from the Cray Diabetes Center talk about diets and we discuss how we check blood sugars and when to follow up with your doctor.
  • Insulin resistance is the whole crux of this issue. When you exercise, it opens up your cells and lets that insulin do its job and turns the glucose into the cells for energy so it's not just floating around and giving you high blood sugar. Exercise is vital.
  • This is a serious condition, but it is manageable. We have a whole team of maternal fetal medicine specialists here from diagnosis to delivery that is trying their best to help you through every aspect.

Monday, May 13 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update.
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