Faith Kuntz was glad her doctor tested her for gestational diabetes early when he noticed a significant weight gain during her pregnancy. For the 35-year-old patient, gestational diabetes wasn’t even on her radar.
“Gestational diabetes, or diabetes during pregnancy, complicates about one in 12 pregnancies for women in the United States,” said David M. Haas, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology for IU School of Medicine and leader of the diabetes team for the IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative.
The complications include a higher risk for a cesarean section and increased jaundice in the child at birth. The biggest concern, however, is a 70% lifetime risk of Mom developing Type 2 Diabetes and a risk exists for their children too.
The IU Grand Challenge Precision Health Initiative is focused on the prediction and prevention of gestational diabetes. The team is looking at both a person’s environment and a person’s genetics, to predict who is most at risk for gestational diabetes and do all they can to prevent the disease from ever happening. If the person does develop gestational diabetes, the team plans to give the patient options to stop gestational diabetes from ever developing into Type 2 diabetes and to offer those solutions in a structure that works within their family.
“Overall,” said Haas, “we want to make sure people are informed, so they can be empowered to take charge of their own health.”