Gestational Diabetes – Are you at risk ?
What is gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. Just like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes results from high blood sugar (glucose) level. The body uses glucose to make energy. Excessive glucose in the blood is not good for you or the baby. It is usually diagnosed during late pregnancy and often goes away after pregnancy.
What causes gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes occurs when your body cannot make enough insulin during pregnancy. Your body goes through a lot of changes and makes more hormones during pregnancy. As a result , your body cells cannot use insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. This increases your body’s need
for insulin. This condition is temporary in most cases.
What are the signs of gestational diabetes?
Some of the signs include :
- sugar in urine
- unusual thirst
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
- frequent vaginal, bladder and skin infections
Who is at risk ?
You are at risk if you fall into the following category :
- have a personal history of gestational diabetes
- obese or gained a lot of weight during pregnancy
- older than 25 years
- have a strong family history of diabetes
- you are African-American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
- you had a stillbirth or baby larger than 9 pounds in the past
Women without these risk factors are still at risk of getting this type of diabetes . That is why pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes.
Can gestational diabetes cause any pregnancy complications ?
Gestational diabetes can usually be controlled during pregnancy. However if left untreated, this condition can result in pregnancy complications such as
It can also cause some health problems in your baby. These include :
- low blood sugar
- breathing problems
How do you know if you have gestational diabetes ?
You will be tested for this condition using a prenatal test known as glucose tolerance test. The test is usually done around 25 to 28 week of pregnancy. However your provider may give it to you earlier if he thinks you are at risk of developing it.
If you do have gestational diabetes , treatment plan may include :
- going more often than usual to prenatal appointment for the rest of the pregfancy
- checking your blood sugar level on your own
- eating healthy
- taking insulin that comes in the form of shots
How can you reduce your risk of getting diabetes in future ?
Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy but it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Here is how you can reduce your risk of diabetes after pregnancy .
- breastfeeding will help you lose weight. Being overweight puts you at risk of diabetes
- get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 week after delivery of your baby. If the test is normal, get tested every 3 years. If the test shows that you have pre diabetes, get tested every year.
- maintain a healthy weight
Gestational diabetes. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/basics/definition/con-20014854. Accessed January 16, 2016
Gestational diabetes. American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/gestational-diabetes/. Accessed January 16, 2016