Disclosure : This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sun Life Financial for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
During those early days of pregnancy, I had so many fears. Can I eat this? Can I do that? Is sushi really bad for the baby? The list goes on. I was one of those lucky ones who didn’t have any morning sickness and so everything I worried about centred on eating healthily. I even attended a bootcamp with my (non-pregnant) co-workers to help keep me fit during my first pregnancy because I was afraid of failing the glucose screening test for gestational diabetes. You know, the one where you have to drink that “orange pop” (Moms know what I mean)?
My sister in law and a few of my friends were pregnant at the same time as I, and we would often compare notes about our respective doctor’s visits and scans. The dreaded diabetes test definitely put a deep fear in us because maintaining a healthy lifestyle didn’t guarantee that we wouldn’t develop the disease. Genetics play a factor as well. I mean, sure I went to a bootcamp, but I was stuffing my face silly compared to some friends and I was lucky to have avoided it. Meanwhile, I met others who were actively jogging pre-pregnancy and adhering to a very healthy diet but still contracted gestational diabetes. Feeling fortunate, I was very pleased to attend an event last week where Sun Life Financial announced the launch of the Sun Life Financial Program to Prevent Diabetes in Women.
At the event Linda Dougherty, Executive VP of Corporate Strategy & Global Marketing, at Sun Life Financial, proudly committed $750,000 to the Sinai Health System program, which includes an initiative to study diabetes through the lens of women’s health. Their hope is to identify at-risk Canadians affected by gestational diabetes before it advances to type 2 diabetes. While I did not deliver at the Mount Sinai Hospital, I have heard amazing things about the care at this hospital. Chris’ grandmother from Cape Breton was staying with us in Toronto one New Year’s Eve when we had to call the ambulance after she fell very ill. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, and the staff there truly impressed both Chris’ mom and grandmother, both of whom have VERY HIGH standards when it comes to medical care (as you may know Chris’ dad is a doctor and his mom used to be a nurse).
The Sinai Health System is one of the best in the world and I believe their research team will be able to transform post-pregnancy care for women diagnosed with gestational diabetes with this generous Sun Life commitment. Their aim is to develop a risk calculator and risk assessment tool that will screen, monitor and help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy for women affected by gestational diabetes.
The World Health Organization calls diabetes the epidemic of the 21st century. That’s no small statement. According to Diabetes Canada, one in three Canadians are affected by diabetes or prediabetes, in which an individual’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal. I have seen firsthand the physical, mental and financial impact diabetes can have on an individual and their family as some of my older male family members have battled diabetes for years. I suspect we all know someone affected by diabetes. It’s a disease that touches almost every family in Canada. I’ve had three close friends who were identified as having gestational diabetes during their pregnancy and their pregnancy was definitely harder as a result of the disease. Gestational diabetes does increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, and requiring a C section, so wouldn’t it be wonderful if doctors were able to prevent diabetes? We moms go through a lot of hurdles during pregnancy, and developing gestational diabetes should not be one of them.
It’s definitely time we all Team Up Against Diabetes!