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Diabetes Prevention and Control

Types of Diabetes


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Contact us:

Mary Schneider, BS, REHS
Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Manager
Phone: 907-269-3454
Fax: 907-269-5446

Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes seen in women during their pregnancy. This does not mean they will continue to have diabetes after their pregnancy. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, gestational diabetes shows during the middle of the pregnancy, around the 20th week of pregnancy. Your health care provider will usually test for gestational diabetes between the 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Here is a video from the March of Dimes explaining Gestational Diabetes in more detail:

How can I prevent getting gestational diabetes?

Medicine is not a perfect science, we cannot guarantee prevention will take place, however; the healthier habits you can adopt before becoming pregnant, the greater the chance you will not get gestational diabetes. If you had gestational diabetes in the past, healthier choices may reduce the risk of having gestational diabetes with future pregnancies of developing type 2 diabetes. Healthier habits you can adopt are:

  • Stay active
    • Exercise before becoming pregnant
    • Exercise during pregnancy (Please note to discuss your exercise activity with your health care provider before starting a routine)
    • Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity
    • Walk more often
  • Lose excess pounds before pregnancy
    • If you are planning to get pregnant, losing extra weight before pregnancy will help with a healthier pregnancy

What are symptoms or signs of gestational diabetes?

It is important to establish prenatal care during your first trimester (first twelve weeks) of pregnancy. Most women do not experience any signs or symptoms. Your health care provider will evaluate your risk for gestational diabetes as part of your prenatal care.

What causes gestational diabetes?

We do not know the exact cause of gestational diabetes. However to understand the process of gestational diabetes, please take a moment to learn more about how pregnancy affects your body’s sugar level (glucose). Read more.

What are the risk factors of gestational diabetes?

  • Being older than 30 during pregnancy
  • Family history of diabetes (parent, sibling, close family member)
  • Previous history of gestational diabetes
  • Previous history of delivery of a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Previous history of unexplained stillbirth
  • Being overweight (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Women who are African American, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian

What are the complications of gestational diabetes?

Complications to your BABY
Complications to YOU
Very large baby (Macrosomia) High blood pressure
Respiratory Distress Syndrome Pre-eclampsia
Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) Increase risk of diabetes
Type 2 diabetes later in life Pre-term labor

What resources are available in Alaska?

Visit our list of diabetes prevention and management programs to learn of resources available in Alaska. (hyperlink to the underline programs)

Where can I learn more about gestational diabetes?

To learn more contact: