AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — It’s been a little more than three years since COVID-19 made its way to America.

In that time frame, health leaders have seen cases of gestational diabetes increase nearly 30%.

“Gestational diabetes is when a person has diabetes just when they’re pregnant,” said Amanda Ast, a Registered Dietician & Diabetes Educator at Northwest Texas Healthcare System. “When the there’s insulin resistance from being pregnant.”

Here locally, NWTHS is offering free classes to fight the condition.

“We want to do early prevention, to make sure that they’re at risk for diabetes, and that we’re treating it,” she expalined.

Ast told KAMR that women diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a 60 to 75% chance of developing type two diabetes later on in life.

“If we catch gestational diabetes early on, we can check around 10 weeks to determine if a mother is having higher blood sugar with a fasting blood sugar, or with an elevated A1C. So then we can catch that early and prevent any fetal development delays,” she said.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, risks associated with the condition include complications at delivery, a heavier birth weight which can cause more stress at birth, hypoglycemia, and stillbirth.

What makes the condition even more tricky, is that symptoms of gestational diabetes can mimic the symptoms of normal pregnancy.

“That’s why it’s really important to get prenatal care. If we’re at risk for diabetes, or have a family history of diabetes, we want to have a screening done when they’re first pregnant. When they first find out they’re pregnant,” she added.

And if you’re looking for paths of prevention, “we want to move the body throughout the day, particularly after meals is really a great goal, even just five to 10 minutes after every meal has shown really good progress in lowering the blood sugar after meals,” she said.

NWTHS offers complimentary classes on gestational diabetes, including prevention and treatment. For more information, click here.