Dr Nolan sees gestational diabetes ‘significantly’ increase

Gestational diabetes has been increasing significantly both globally and the ACT.

GESTATIONAL diabetes has been increasing significantly both globally and the ACT, says one of ACT Health’s longest serving Endocrinologists, Dr Chris Nolan. 

Dr Nolan, who received a 2018 Diabetes Australia Research Grant to explore the genetic factors that explain overlap in the risk for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, says the increasing rate of gestational diabetes among expectant mothers is a trend that can and should be minimised sooner rather than later.

He hopes his research will lead to new approaches to the prevention and management of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but in the meantime, Dr Nolan, who has been working in the ACT for over 13 years, says the biggest change he has noticed in this time is the rate at which mothers-to-be are developing gestational diabetes.

“In the ACT, as is the case globally, the prevalence of gestational diabetes has been increasing significantly. In 2010 in the ACT 5 per cent of expectant mothers had gestational diabetes by 2016 that figure rose to 15 per cent,” he says. 

“What we do know is that this rise is due to a number of risk factors including an increase in pre-pregnancy weight, more mothers having babies at an older age and more mothers coming from a high-risk ethnic group.

“Timely prevention, timely intervention and timely treatment is the key to managing type 2 diabetes – a condition in which lifestyle is key to outcomes.

“For women who are contemplating starting a family the message is to get timely with your lifestyle and eating habits to create and enjoy a healthy pregnancy.

“It’s important for mothers-to-be to get their pregnancy off to a good start because the effects of diabetes in pregnancy are not just short term but long term as well.

“In the short term there are increased risks during pregnancy and labour, and risks for the baby of high birth weight and birth complications.

“In addition, once a mother is affected by gestational diabetes there is an increased risk of diabetes for future pregnancies and an increased risk of developing diabetes later in life.

“As well, their babies have a greater chance of being overweight or obese and developing diabetes.”



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