Written on December 22, 2023 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Many women have blood sugar changes during and after pregnancy. Sometimes, women can become prediabetic after pregnancy. Read this article for everything you need to know.
Prediabetes is a type of insulin resistance that occurs when blood sugar levels remain higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Symptoms of prediabetes can vary but common symptoms include :
If you are experiencing symptoms of prediabetes, it is important to have your hemoglobin A1C checked. This will let you know what the average is for your blood sugar levels over the past 90 days.
Prediabetes can occur at many different life stages, but some pregnant women may be at a higher risk of developing prediabetes postpartum. However, for many women, the blood sugar changes experienced during pregnancy naturally remedy themselves during the postpartum period and do not require treatment or medical intervention.
For some women, blood sugar levels can become affected and skewed during pregnancy. If blood sugar levels get too high, this can lead to gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes occurs when the hormones that are released during pregnancy that are made by the placenta prevent the body from using insulin effectively. Some hormones, like estrogen and cortisol, can block the effects of insulin. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, it is crucial to get assistance from a qualified healthcare practitioner.
After pregnancy, blood sugar changes are also normal. After a woman gives birth, her body can become a lot more sensitive to insulin. For some people, this is helpful, as they are less likely to run into high blood sugar concerns or contend with prediabetes. This may also naturally resolve gestational diabetes, if applicable. However, if this occurs too rapidly, a woman runs the risk of becoming hypoglycemic (low blood sugar levels). In addition, breastfeeding can also make a woman’s body more sensitive to insulin, as breastfeeding is a nutritionally demanding process.
Although the chance of developing diabetes and prediabetes can be reduced in many cases, some women are at a greater likelihood of developing diabetes or prediabetes after pregnancy. Women may be at a greater risk for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they have the following risk factors after pregnancy :
If you or someone you know is at an increased risk for prediabetes post-pregnancy, there are many steps to take to try to optimize blood sugar levels, including :
At Everlywell, we combine the best in modernized, rigorous lab testing with easy-to-access, at-home medicine. We provide a range of blood tests, including our blood sugar test, that you can take from the comfort of your home. Your results will be analyzed in CLIA-certified labs and an experienced healthcare provider will deliver your result. Take control of your health and physical well-being today with Everlywell.