Salma Hayek was 40 when she became pregnant with her now 12-year-old daughter Valentina. It was a tough pregnancy: She gained around 50 pounds and developed gestational diabetes.
Fortunately, she breastfed her baby for 15 months, and that may have spared Salma a cascade of health issues that often follow gestational diabetes, including developing Type 2 diabetes and associated complications.
Overall about 50% of women who have gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes.
A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care tracked the health of moms who experienced gestational diabetes. They found those who breastfed for six to 12 months were 9% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, breastfeeding for one to two years reduced their risk by 15%, and breastfeeding for two-plus years reduced the risk 27%.
Lifestyle habits — especially diet and exercise — make a huge difference in recovering from the dangers of gestational diabetes. So whether you breastfeed or not, if you had gestational diabetes take these steps to recover:
• Have your doctor check your blood glucose level six to 12 weeks postpartum; if it's normal, keep checking every one to three years.
• Aim to lose at least 5% to 7% of your body weight — a healthy body mass index (BMI) is 18.5-24.9.
• Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly — such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five days per week.
In addition, have your child monitored for gestational diabetes-related issues including elevated blood glucose and being overweight.
And get your child walking ASAP. Together, the two of you can leave the risks of gestational diabetes behind.