During Diabetes Awareness Month we wanted to shed some light on the topic of gestational diabetes. What is it, what causes it and how can you manage it if you are diagnosed with it?
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs when your body cannot make enough insulin during pregnancy. It affects how your body uses sugar and can lead to high blood sugar levels, one in ten pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, if you have gestational diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. It is important to manage gestational diabetes through proper diet, exercise, and sometimes medication to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both mother and baby.
One of the key factors that can contribute to the development of gestational diabetes is hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These hormones can make it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively. Additionally, if a woman has a family history of diabetes or if she is overweight before pregnancy, her risk of developing gestational diabetes may be higher. Other risk factors include being older than 25, having previously given birth to a large baby, belonging to certain ethnic groups, or having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It’s important to identify the causes and risk factors of gestational diabetes so that your healthcare provider can offer appropriate advice during your pregnancy.
It’s important for pregnant mothers to recognize the symptoms of gestational diabetes so they can get the diagnosis and help. Some common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. However, it’s worth noting that gestational diabetes often presents with no symptoms at all. To diagnose this condition, doctors typically perform a glucose screening test, which involves measuring blood sugar levels after drinking a sugary solution. If the results are abnormal, a glucose tolerance test may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. Early detection and management of gestational diabetes are key to ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
Managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. The main focus of treatment is to maintain blood sugar levels within a target range to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This can be achieved through regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, following a balanced diet with controlled carbohydrate intake, and regular physical activity. In some cases, medication or insulin therapy may be necessary to control blood sugar levels more effectively. Close monitoring and regular check-ups with healthcare professionals are also crucial during this time. Additionally, pregnant individuals with gestational diabetes may be advised to monitor fetal movements and undergo regular ultrasounds to keep an eye on the baby’s growth and well-being. Overall, managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy aims to promote the best possible health outcomes for both the mother and the baby.
Potential complications and long-term effects of gestational diabetes can include pre-eclampsia, the development of type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. In some cases, the baby may experience complications such as macrosomia (large birth weight), shoulder dystocia, and an increased risk of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes later in life.
It is essential for women with gestational diabetes to closely monitor their blood sugar levels, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and take any prescribed medications or insulin as directed. By managing gestational diabetes effectively, women can reduce the risks of these potential complications and ensure the best outcomes for both them and their babies.
There are a lot of pressures to do what is best for you and your baby during your pregnancy. One way to ensure you are keeping you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy is to make sure you are tested for gestational diabetes, that you are managing it properly if you have it, and to have open and honest conversations with your physician about any symptoms or concerns you may have.