BATON ROUGE, La. - Ericka Poole was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during both her pregnancies.
"They're my little knights in shining armor," Poole said of her two children.
But after delivery, Karen Elkind-Hirsch, the research director at the Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, explained that Poole's journey wasn't over.
Elkind-Hirsch has spent years researching gestational diabetes. Her research provided further proof that many women who had gestational diabetes are still at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease in the future.
"While gestational diabetes goes away after you deliver, your risk for type 2 diabetes does not go away," Elkind-Hirsch said. "Think of this as a warning."
Poole took part in two of Elkind-Hirsch's studies. Her treatments involved pre-diabetic medications and changes to her diet and lifestyle.
"If we treat the pre-diabetic, we're going to be so much more successful than if we wait until they become diabetic," said Elkind-Hirsch.
In time, Poole's blood work improved. Now, she wants to let other moms know that prevention is possible.
"This is incredibly important information," Poole said. "If we want to tackle heart disease and we want to tackle these things that are taking mothers from their children, then we want to start here."
Elkind-Hirsch recommends that anyone who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes get blood work done after delivery and continue to be monitored by their doctor for diabetes and heart disease.