Gestational diabetes develops in women during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, like any other type of diabetes, affects how your cells use glucose (sugar). During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones which help in the growth and development of the baby. These hormones impair the action of insulin in the cells, increasing the blood sugar. Gestational diabetes develops as a result of the inability of the mother’s body to produce enough insulin. Insulin is essential to break down sugar to be used as energy. Without adequate insulin the blood sugar level increases. This may affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.
Gestational diabetes commonly begins in the second or third trimester and goes away after the baby is born. But if you’ve had gestational diabetes, it puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes. Therefore, you need to work out a plan to monitor and manage your blood sugar level.
How does gestational diabetes affect your pregnancy?
Most women with gestational diabetes have normal pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. However, gestational diabetes which is not carefully managed can cause problems for you and your baby. Some of them are:
- Excess birth weight of the baby
- Premature birth
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Miscarriage or Stillbirth
- Need for c-section
- Mothers have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
Most women suffering from gestational diabetes do not experience any identifiable symptoms. It is generally identified during the test for gestational diabetes as part of your prenatal care. Some women may experience some few symptoms when the gestational diabetes is out of control. Some of them are:
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive hunger
- Excessive urination
As these symptoms are commonly experienced by pregnant ladies, it often goes unnoticed until it is identified through Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is done.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
Any women can develop gestational diabetes. But, women with any of the following risk factors are at higher risk.
- Excess body weight- Women who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) above 30 are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
- Women over the age of 35.
- A Family history of diabetes.
- If you have had gestational diabetes before.
- Delivered a baby weighing more than 4.5kg or more during a previous pregnancy.
- Baby born with abnormality or stillbirth in a previous pregnancy.
- Women of certain racial origins like African, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian are at higher risk.
Treatment for gestational diabetes
The treatment for gestational diabetes focuses on controlling the blood sugar levels. The doctor will recommend you to:
- Check your blood sugar level at least four times a day
- Eat a planned healthy diet
- Keep track of your weight
- Make regular physical exercise a habit
- Take prescribed medicines regularly
- Some women may require insulin injections
Prevention of gestational diabetes
Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent gestational diabetes, you can adopt a few healthy habits before pregnancy to be safe.
- Eat healthy food
- Regular physical exercise
- Maintain ideal weight
Rao Hospital with its most advanced treatments and complete women care has been named one of the best hospitals in this region for Fertility and Gynaecological services. Furthermore, our team of certified doctors & nurses are guaranteed to provide you with the best in clinical care during your pregnancy planning, birthing, and beyond. We ensure safe and ethical practice and assure you with best results.