Women who have had gestational diabetes are much less likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they breastfeed.

Gestational diabetes means diabetes during pregnancy. Women who have had the condition are at significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes later in their life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2014 9.2 percent of pregnant women in the USA had gestational diabetes. Some of these women can control their blood sugar with diet changes, whereas others need to use insulin injections. The incidence of the condition is rising at a frightening rate because more women are having babies at an older age (when risk of gestational diabetes climbs), and getting pregnant while overweight.

Poorly controlled gestational diabetes increases the risk of giving birth to a large baby (possibly requiring a cesarian section) and makes a woman twice as likely to develop pre-eclampsia as other pregnant women.

A recent study published by Kaiser Permanente analysed women with gestational diabetes and their development into full blown type 2 diabetes after childbirth in relation to breastfeeding. Women who get gestational diabetes are up to seven times more likely to progress to type 2 diabetes within years of their pregnancy. The study reviewed 1,010 women who breastfed for at least two months following labor, compared with those who kept breastfeeding for several months. All the women were checked for diabetes six to nine weeks after giving birth, again one year later, and again two years later.

After two years, 11.8 percent of the women in the study had already developed type 2 diabetes. The women who solely breastfed their infants for several months were half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as women who solely used formula at six to nine weeks. The study highlighted a 35 percent to 57 percent reduction in the two year diabetes diagnosis associated with higher lactation duration from fewer than two months to longer than 10 months of breastfeeding.

This is great news because it’s a relatively simple way of reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding for longer also makes it easier for most women to lose weight after giving birth, and of course it has countless benefits for the infant.

How to reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes or type 2 diabetes

  • Avoid sugar and flour and the foods and drinks that contain them. Also avoid vegetable oil and every food that contains it. The only safe vegetable oil to consume is cold pressed olive oil, cold pressed macadamia nut or avocado oil and organic coconut oil. Avoid cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, sunflower and safflower oil.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables, particularly raw vegetables. A lack of vegetables in your diet promotes oxidative damage, which increases the risk of diabetes and also ages your body more quickly. Most people eat nowhere near enough vegetables. Ideally you would have seven serves of vegetables per day; a serve is half a cup of chopped vegetables, or one cup of leafy vegetables. Adding a raw vegetable juice to your day will give you even more benefits. You will find juice recipes for the liver and for diabetes in my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.
  • The herbal extract berberine improves metabolism in a way that reduces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a forerunner to gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Berberine makes weight loss significantly easier (read more about berberine here). Achieving a healthy weight is the most important thing a woman can do before falling pregnant.
  • Obtain sufficient minerals required for blood sugar control; these are primarily chromium and magnesium. It is very difficult to obtain enough of these minerals through modern diets and some medication increases the loss of these minerals from your body, particularly diuretics. Chromium and magnesium work best when combined with the herbs Gymnema and bitter melon, such as in Glicemic Balance capsules.
  • Take a liver tonic containing an effective dose of St Mary’s thistle. Your liver is your main fat burning organ. It controls your metabolic rate. If your liver is unhealthy you are prone to accumulating weight on your torso. Your liver also helps to control your blood sugar level. People with an unhealthy liver are more susceptible to hypoglycaemia and resultant sugar and carbohydrate cravings.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps your body to burn fat from the areas you can see, such as your thighs and triceps, but also helps to clear fat from areas you can’t see, such as your liver, arteries and other organs.

 

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

References
Lee, Anna J., et al. “Gestational diabetes mellitus: Clinical predictors and long-term risk of developing type 2 diabetes a retrospective cohort study using survival analysis.” Diabetes care 30.4 (2007): 878-883.
Gunderson, Erica P., et al. “Lactation and Progression to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus After Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Prospective Cohort Study.”Annals of Internal Medicine: 889-898.
Haile, Zelalem T., et al. “Association between History of Gestational Diabetes and Exclusive Breastfeeding at Hospital Discharge.” Journal of Human Lactation (2015): 0890334415618936.
Jagiello, Karen P., and Ilana R. Azulay Chertok. “Women’s Experiences With Early Breastfeeding After Gestational Diabetes.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (2015).