TIME TO EDUCATE: Hayley Mason pictured with husband Mark and sons Benjamin and James said November was an important time to raise awareness about all types of diabetes.
TIME TO EDUCATE: Hayley Mason pictured with husband Mark and sons Benjamin and James said November was an important time to raise awareness about all types of diabetes. Marian Faa

Pregnant mothers and babies at risk with disease on the rise

AN ALLORA mother who was diagnosed with a gestational diabetes just a few weeks out from giving birth has joined experts in a push to raise awareness about an increasingly common disease.

Hayley Mason was 36 weeks pregnant with her second child when she found out she had gestational diabetes.

The illness is diagnosed when higher than normal blood glucose levels appear for the first time during duringpregnancy.

It is known to put both mothers and their newborns at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

"In a sense it does concern me because I know I meet a lot of the criteria," Mrs Mason said.

Right now, more than 62 women on the Southern Downs are pregnant and have gestational diabetes, according to Diabetes Queensland.

It is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia.

Diabetes Queensland CEO Sturt Eastwood said about half the number of women with gestational diabetes would develop type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years of that pregnancy.

He said children whose mothers were affected were also six times more likely to develop diabetes or prediabetes later in life.

"We need to break this intergenerational cycle," Mr Eastwood said.

According to research, factors that add to rising rates of gestational diabetes include the mother's age, a family history of type 2 diabetes and being above the healthy weight range at the beginning of pregnancy.

Mrs Mason said November, as diabetes awareness month, was a chance to educate people about the illness.

Women who have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy are automatically eligible for a free healthy lifestyle program, My Health For Life.

For details, call Diabetes Queensland on 1800 177 055.



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