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DHHS Releases Data Brief on Diabetes during Pregnancy in New Hampshire
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Diabetes Education Program
Publish Date:
April 9, 2014

Concord, NH – Most women with gestational diabetes know that taking steps to manage the disease during pregnancy is critical for the health of both mother and child. What many women don’t realize is that those steps need to continue even after the baby is born. A report on the impact of diabetes during pregnancy in New Hampshire is now available and points to an increasing public health problem in the State.

Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a type of diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy, usually during the second trimester, and is the most common type of diabetes (90%) among pregnant women. Gestational diabetes affects about 7% of all U.S. pregnancies or about 200,000 pregnancies each year. In New Hampshire, the rate of reported maternal diabetes per 1,000 live births increased significantly from about 3.4% in 2001 to 5.7% in 2010.

"Women who have had gestational diabetes are not only at increased risk of health problems during their pregnancy but they are also at increased risk of developing diabetes in the future," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. "Children of mothers with gestational diabetes are also at risk of health problems around the time of delivery such as miscarriage, birth defects, being born too large or too small, or having breathing problems or glucose or iron deficiency. Later in life the children are at increased risk of obesity and diabetes themselves. But there are steps women can take to lessen their risk and keep themselves and their children healthy."

Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35% to 60% chance of developing diabetes in the next 10–20 years. Women with a history of gestational diabetes should be screened for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after the baby is born and at least every 3 years after that. It is important for women to reach and maintain a healthy weight, preferably before becoming pregnant, and maintain a healthy weight by making healthy food choices and being active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Breastfeeding also helps protect against childhood obesity, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. For mom, breastfeeding can also promote an earlier return to a pre-pregnancy weight. Gestational diabetes also occurs more frequently among women with a family history of diabetes, overweight and obesity, and from Hispanic/Latina, African-American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Island, or Alaska Native background.

This data brief on gestational diabetes is one of the topics DHHS is focusing on in recognition of National Public Health Week, April 7–11 (#nphw #nhphw). To read the data brief, go to For more information on NPHW visit

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