Jacey Yeh and her daughter lead healthier lives after benefitting from the Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Care Programme
“For a first-time mother like me, the GDM Care Programme has been especially helpful in managing my condition. I now know that it’s not the end of the world. And I’m definitely not alone.”
It’s an invisible condition that plagues one in five women in Singapore. With neither warning nor mercy, it strikes. Tell-tale signs are few. Risks can be severe. So when Jacey Yeh found out she had gestational diabetes during her second trimester, the diagnosis was a shock.
“I was surprised. My family has no history of diabetes and I’d been maintaining a healthy body mass index. My biggest concern was how it would impact my baby’s health.” said the first-time mother.
Jacey is one of nearly 5,000 mothers who have benefitted from the early detection and intervention offered by the GDM Care Programme.
A collaboration between Temasek Foundation and KKH, the programme provides mothers with GDM with a pathway of care and education from pre-delivery to post-pregnancy. GDM develops during pregnancy and causes high blood sugar levels that can endanger the health of pregnant women and their babies.
“Typically, pregnant women with GDM display no symptoms,” said Professor Tan Kok Hian, head and senior consultant of KKH’s Perinatal Audit and Epidemiology Unit.
“It is important to diagnose and detect GDM early during pregnancy because poorly controlled or untreated GDM can put the mother and her baby at risk.”
“The programme offers timely intervention and close follow-up care aimed at improving the health outcomes for all expectant mothers with GDM in KKH.”
For Jacey, the first step of intervention was a change in diet. The 40-year-old arts administrator, who has a sweet tooth, said: “I had to change my eating habits by avoiding sugar and switching to multigrain bread and brown rice. I also cut down on the sweetness of my daily cup of milk tea.”
“I even had to check my blood sugar level seven times a day.”
As her delivery date drew near, so did the risks of premature delivery, fetal abnormalities and even death.
Thankfully, with the structured support of the programme, Jacey welcomed a healthy baby girl into the family. But the dangers of GDM were far from over. Mothers with GDM are seven times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes post-delivery.
Still, Jacey is determined to beat the odds. Besides undergoing six weeks of postnatal GDM screening, she has also adopted a healthier lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“I’ve learnt to plan my meals, use a glucose tracker and watch my sugar intake.”