Gestational diabetes (gestational diabetes) is a type of diabetes that can occur in the second part of pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby is born. It is diagnosed when a woman’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal during pregnancy. You can find more information below.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes , also known as gestational diabetes , is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy . This is different from diabetes before the pregnant woman is pregnant.
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed during the second and third trimester of pregnancy and usually goes away on its own after the baby is born.
Gestational diabetes can cause problems for mother and baby, but treatment and regular checkups ensure that most women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
What causes gestational diabetes?
In women with gestational diabetes, natural hormones secreted by the placenta during pregnancy increase the body’s resistance to insulin. In other words, your body’s cells are not responding normally to insulin.
This means that your body needs much more insulin than usual to do its job of helping your body’s cells take glucose from the bloodstream after a meal. The result is that glucose stays in the bloodstream, so you have high levels of glucose in your blood.
Women who are found to have very high blood sugar levels may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes . These women are likely to have undiagnosed diabetes that existed before pregnancy and is usually diagnosed in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy. Women with diabetes during pregnancy may need more testing, more intensive treatment during pregnancy, and closer monitoring after pregnancy.
Does this mean I will always have diabetes?
In women with gestational diabetes, blood glucose levels usually return to normal after the baby is born.
It is recommended that women with gestational diabetes have another glucose tolerance test after 6 to 12 weeks to make sure the baby’s blood sugar levels have returned to normal.
Some women’s blood sugar levels will remain high after delivery. These women most likely have underlying type 2 diabetes.
Because having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is recommended that all women with gestational diabetes have a blood glucose test every year or a glucose tolerance test approximately every 2 years .
What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes usually does not cause symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get tested during pregnancy, usually between 24 and 28 weeks.
Women with risk factors for diabetes may be tested earlier than this – sometimes at the first prenatal visit, which is usually around week 10.
Women who develop gestational diabetes may experience the following symptoms:
- feeling extremely tired
- feeling thirsty all the time
- Symptoms of recurrent infections (such as thrush)
- needing to urinate more than usual
Women who experience symptoms at any stage of pregnancy should be tested for diabetes.
Am I at risk of gestational diabetes?
It is not known exactly how much of gestational diabetes affects pregnancies in our country. However, the following other factors can increase your risk:
- being overweight
- Having diabetes in another family member
- Have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- be 40 years or older
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
- taking medications that can affect blood sugar levels
- Pregnancy of the baby born before
How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
The usual screening test for gestational diabetes is called a glucose tolerance test . This test is routinely recommended for pregnant women at 24 to 28 weeks.
Women with symptoms or risk factors for diabetes will usually be tested early in pregnancy and at 24 to 28 weeks (if the initial test is normal).
glucose tolerance test
You must fast before the glucose tolerance test. For this reason, many women want to take a test before breakfast.
In this case, a blood sample is taken to measure your fasting blood sugar level. You then drink 75 grams of glucose solution and an hour later a blood sample is taken again to measure the glucose level. Two hours later, another sample is taken.
The 3 blood glucose measurements are used to determine if you have gestational diabetes.
Will I need to monitor my blood sugar levels?
Regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels is the best way to know if you are controlling your blood sugar levels well. It is generally recommended to take measurements of hunger and one to 2 hours after eating. You should record all your results in a home glucose diary .
To get started, you should measure your blood sugar four times a day. If your blood sugar levels are well controlled, you may start to measure your levels less often.
Monitoring of your blood sugar is done using a blood glucose meter. To get a drop of blood for monitoring, your finger is pierced with a special device. There are several different types of these devices and they aim to make this process as easy and painless as possible.
How is gestational diabetes treated?
Gestational diabetes treatment will focus on bringing your blood sugar levels back into the normal range and maintaining tight control of them. Most women can achieve good control with diet and exercise, but others may need to take insulin.
Your doctor may refer you to a diabetes specialist ( endocrinologist ) and will likely recommend that you see a dietitian or diabetes educator to help with your diet. He or she will be able to advise you on low glycemic index foods and ensure that your dietary intake is rich in vitamins and nutrients for your growing baby. While it is important not to overeat, it is also important not to overeat, as this can affect the growth of the baby.
Getting 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day, if not every day of the week, is safe and recommended for most pregnant women, including those with gestational diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes educator can advise you on what exercise you can do. Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to increase the amount of exercise you get. You can try walking for 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 4 days a week to get started.
If diet and exercise measures do not keep your blood sugar at normal levels, your doctor may recommend starting insulin.
What if I need insulin?
For some women, diet and exercise will not be enough to bring blood sugar into the required range. In this case, you will likely need to give insulin injections.
Depending on what time of day your blood glucose readings are high, members of your healthcare team will advise you when to inject insulin. If your glucose levels are high after a meal, it’s probably recommended that you inject short-acting insulin before meals.
Some women may also be given oral diabetes tablets, sometimes in combination with insulin, to treat gestational diabetes.
What happens if gestational diabetes is not treated?
The extra glucose in your blood that crosses the placenta and enters the baby’s bloodstream is not good for your baby. The baby’s high blood sugar levels will make him produce extra insulin to try to get rid of the extra glucose. The extra glucose can also feed the baby extra, so women with untreated gestational diabetes have larger-than-normal babies.
If the baby is pumping extra insulin to deal with the excess glucose that has passed through the placenta by the mother, the baby may suffer from low blood sugar when born. This is because suddenly the extra glucose the baby took is gone, but the baby’s pancreas is still secreting a lot of insulin to remove the glucose from the bloodstream. Babies at risk are usually monitored for blood sugar after birth.
Additionally, women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia. This can be dangerous for both the mother and the unborn baby.
The good news is that if you can maintain good blood sugar control during pregnancy, there is always the possibility of a healthy baby and a safe delivery.
Can gestational diabetes be prevented?
There are things you can do to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Making sure you eat a healthy diet, get enough physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight will lower your chances.
Ensuring you have a healthy lifestyle before you become pregnant and then continue down this path after you become pregnant will give you a chance to avoid gestational diabetes.