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Some doctors already are trying the simpler approach. The Oregon Health & Science University began using it last summer, and gestational diabetes cases doubled, obstetrics chairman Dr. Aaron Caughey told the NIH meeting. But his medical center decided it’s worth trying because even women with mild diabetes could benefit from nutritional counseling that insurance doesn’t always cover unless they’re diagnosed, Caughey said.

Wednesday’s report urged doctors also to consider the anxiety that a diagnosis of even mild gestational diabetes can bring.

In Birmingham, Ala., attorney Kira Fonteneau was diagnosed with gestational diabetes after traditional two-step testing. She cried at the news even though doctors made clear she had a very mild case. She wasn’t overweight, but diabetes runs in the family.

Armed with a nutritionist’s advice and regular blood-sugar checks, Fonteneau quickly changed how she ate, cutting back on carbohydates. She got better.

“Knowledge is power,” she said. “You want to have a healthy baby.”

Her daughter Sydney, now 2, was born a healthy 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Fonteneau said she bounced back faster, gaining far less during her pregnancy than is typical for her family. She said she will pay more attention to her own health knowing she’s at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes later on.

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Online:

NIH site on gestational diabetes: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/