Many pregnant women are at risk for developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes, or GDM, is a form of diabetes that comes on only for the duration of pregnancy in women with no prior history of the condition. The symptoms of GDM are the same as those associated with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. There are many circumstances that might increase your risk for GDM. If you are over the age of 25 when you enter your pregnancy, you have a higher risk. Also, if you are overweight, your chances for getting GDM increase. Women especially susceptible to GDM are those with a family history of Diabetes in any of its forms. While many of these risk factors make contracting GDM easy to predict, there is one risk factor that is difficult in itself to predict. Having twins will increase your likelihood of getting gestational diabetes.
A recent study proved that women who were pregnant with twins were much more likely to contract gestational Diabetes. Obviously, you cannot control whether or not you will have twins or a singleton birth, but knowing you’re more likely to get GDM might make it easier to prepare for and treat. Treating GDM is essentially the same as treating Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes outside of pregnancy. Your goal should be to keep blood sugar levels consistent, and doing so is a matter of a balanced diet, regular exercise and checking blood levels often to see if insulin is needed.
If you do get GDM when you are pregnant with twins, there might be some negative side effects. One of the major side effects of GDM is that babies are born larger than normal. Since twins are naturally smaller than other babies, their size increase might not be as drastic, but a cesarean section might still be necessary. Women who give birth to twins and have GDM are more likely to have a high blood pressure during gestation, and further are more likely to contract Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
If you’re having twins, you certainly have a lot to worry about. As long as you speak with your health care provider about the risks and about proper management, GDM doesn’t have to be added to the list. Many healthy babies are born to women with GDM, and although it’s inconvenient, you’ll forget all about it when your beautiful twins are born.
Source: Jose A. Rauh-Hain et al: Risk For Developing Gestational Diabetes In Women With Twin Pregnancies. Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine Volume 22 Issue 4 pp. 293-299 2009