Gestational Diabetes: Expecting Mothers’ Nightmare

Gestational Diabetes
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that is developed during pregnancy. The woman may test negative for diabetes during pregnancy, but during her pregnancy she will have high levels of blood glucose levels. The only symptoms may be an increase* in thirst and frequent urination.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes

It isn’t known what causes Gestational Diabetes during the pregnancy, but the American Diabetes Association found some clues: The baby is supported by the hormones from the placenta. This is how the baby grows, but the helpful hormones for the baby block the actions of insulin in the mother. This action is called insulin resistance, and it makes it hard for the mother to use insulin properly. She may need to have three time as much insulin as compared to what is normal.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes?

Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes

These symptoms can tell you that there is something wrong:

  • Drinking a lot.
  • Urinating more than usual.
  • The tummy looks bigger than what is should be (Polyhydramnios).

This is why most doctors order blood tests, on a newly pregnant woman, to test for Gestational Diabetes.

How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?

Most doctors make it a routine test to test between the 24th and 28th week of the pregnancy. It’s up to your doctor that test he will do, but some of the tests are listed here:

Blood testing will confirm the disease. He may test the Gestational Diabetes earlier than the 24th week if he feels the mother is prone to high blood sugar. A screening glucose beverage test involves drinking a sugary beverage and having your blood drawn an hour later to test the glucose levels. Another test is an oral glucose challenge test, which is basically the same as the one previously mentioned, but they start with a baseline blood sugar test, then after drinking the sugary beverage, they will test your blood sugar at 1, 2 and sometimes 3 hour intervals.

What Is The Treatment For Gestational Diabetes?

Diet and exercise are the most common, but if your blood sugar is too high then the doctor may order insulin shots to try to level out your blood sugar.

Is There A Special Diet For A Woman With Gestational Diabetes?

Diet For A Woman With Gestational Diabetes

See a good nutritionist for your diet. The diet should be a low carbohydrate diet to prevent the blood sugar levels to rise. A diet for a woman with Gestational Diabetes should consist of three small meals a day with two to five snacks, which will keep you feeling full and prevent you from eating too much in one sitting. Along with that nutritional diet you need to consume fiber that will keep you feeling full and satisfied. Fruits and vegetables are considered high-fiber, and of course grain bread are better* than white bread.

Does A Woman Continue To Have Gestational Diabetes After Birth?

Some women with Gestational Diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery, but this can be reduced* by following a good nutritional plan of exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.

Does Having Gestational Diabetes Put Women At Higher Risk For Diabetes In The Future?

About 4% of pregnant women develop Gestational Diabetes, but the future doesn’t have to be in depression. As long as you stay with a good, healthy diet of low carbohydrates and fiber before, during and after your pregnancy you will be able to control* the after affects of Gestational Diabetes.

Can Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented?

Gestational Diabetes can’t always be prevented, but obesity increases* the likelihood of getting Gestational Diabetes. If you lose* the extra pounds and start on a healthy diet with exercise before pregnancy, it will more than likely decrease* your chances of developing type 2 diabetes after your pregnancy. You may need to test your blood sugar every day.

Must Watch – Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Final Words

Sometimes contracting Gestational Diabetes during your pregnancy can’t be prevented, but you can always do everything within your means to prevent this disease. You never really know that when the hormones being taken by your baby to grow with will cause your insulin level to drop, causing this disease. This will prevent problems for you and your baby in the long run. Some babies affected by high blood sugar in the mother will grow too large and may need to be delivered by c-section. Untreated or badly controlled Gestational Diabetes can be dangerous. The insulin the mother is producing* may not go through the placenta, but the blood sugar will, which may cause the baby’s pancreas to produce* extra insulin that it doesn’t need, so it gets stored as fat. As a result, the baby is born ‘fat’ or the child is obese with other health problems as they grow. Babies who are born with extra insulin may be at risk for breathing problems, obesity and a being a type 2 diabetic as they get older.

Reference:

  • American Diabetes Association: Position statement—gestational diabetes.Diabetes Care
  • Miller HC: The effect of diabetic and prediabetic pregnancieson the fetus and newborn infant. J Pediatr

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Author

Expert Author : Peony C Echavez (Consumer Health Digest)

Peony is a registered nurse, and former Director of Nursing services for a large nursing facility. She has written web content for a large health education website, and currently creates content for a number of health practisioners.