Gestational Diabetes : What Are Symptoms And Treatment ?697
Gestational diabetes is the term used when diabetes is first found during pregnancy (gestation). Gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar, similar to other kinds of diabetes (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which can be harmful to the health of both you and your unborn child.
There is good news, even if any pregnancy issue is alarming. Gestational diabetes can be managed throughout pregnancy by eating well, exercising, and, if required, taking medication. Controlling your blood sugar can help you and your unborn child stay healthy and prevent a difficult delivery.
If you had gestational diabetes while pregnant, your blood sugar often returns to normal shortly after delivery. However, your chance of developing type 2 diabetes is increased if you have ever had gestational diabetes. You must be evaluated for modifications.
It is still unknown why some women develop gestational diabetes while others do not. Pregnancy weight gain is frequently a factor.
Typically, a number of hormones control blood sugar levels. However, as a result of altered hormone levels during pregnancy, the body has a tougher time effectively processing blood sugar. A blood sugar rise results from this.
How to check if you have Gestational Diabetes?
If at all feasible, get medical attention as soon as you begin to consider attempting to conceive so that your doctor can assess both your general health and your risk of gestational diabetes. As part of your prenatal care after becoming pregnant, your doctor will examine you for gestational diabetes.
If you acquire gestational diabetes, you could require more frequent checks. These are most likely to happen in the latter three months of pregnancy when your doctor will be watching your blood sugar level and the well-being of your unborn child.
Pregnancy-related diabetes risk factors include:
- Being fat or overweight
- Being pre-diabetic
- Gestational diabetes from a previous pregnancy
- A polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis
- Having a diabetic relative within a close family
- Having just had a child weighing more than nine pounds (4.1 kilograms)
Pregnancy-related diabetes often has no outward indications or symptoms. Increased thirst and more frequent urination are examples of potential symptoms.
The more healthy behaviours you can develop before becoming pregnant, the better. When it comes to avoiding gestational diabetes, there are no guarantees. These healthy choices might lower your chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes or experiencing gestational diabetes again in the future if you have already experienced it.
Eat nutritious foods. Pick fiber-rich, calorie- and fat-free meals. Place a focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To assist you in achieving your goals without sacrificing flavour or nutrients, strive for diversity. Observe serving sizes.
Keep moving. Exercise can help you avoid getting gestational diabetes before, during, and after pregnancy. On most days of the week, aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity. Go for a little stroll each day. Take a bike ride.
Swimming laps. Short spurts of activity, such as leaving your car further from the store when doing errands or taking a quick walk break, all add up.
Pregnancy should begin at a healthy weight. Losing excess weight before becoming pregnant may help you have a healthy pregnancy. Focus on making long-lasting nutritional changes that will help you while you are pregnant, such as boosting the number of fruits and vegetables you eat.
Avoid gaining more weight than is advised. Pregnancy-related weight gain is normal and healthy. However, you face the danger of getting gestational diabetes if you gain weight too quickly. Find out from your doctor how much weight you should gain.
Pregnancy-related diabetes is treated with:
- Alterations in way of life
- Taking blood sugar readings
- Medications, if required
Keeping your blood sugar under control promotes both your and your baby's health. With diligent observation, problems throughout pregnancy and delivery can also be avoided.
Alterations in way of life
Your lifestyle, including what you eat and how you move, is crucial to maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels. Healthcare specialists often advise avoiding losing weight when pregnant since your body is working so hard to support your developing child. However, based on your pre-pregnancy weight, your doctor can help you set weight-gain objectives.
Changes in lifestyle include:
A good diet. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein are the main components of a healthy diet since they are abundant in nutrients, fibre, and calories. You can develop a meal plan with the aid of a trained dietitian or a professional diabetes care and education specialist based on your present weight, pregnancy weight gain goals, blood sugar level, exercise regimen, dietary choices, and budget.
Remaining active. Every health strategy, whether it is for the time before, during, or after pregnancy, emphasises regular physical activity. Your blood sugar is reduced by exercise. Regular exercise may also help to reduce some of the more common pregnancy aches and pains, including back discomfort, cramping, swelling, constipation, and trouble sleeping.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week, if your doctor gives the go-ahead. If you have not exercised in a while, begin cautiously and progress.
Taking blood sugar readings
In order to ensure that your blood sugar level remains within a safe range while you are pregnant, your medical team may advise you to check it four or many times a day, particularly right after meals and in the morning.
You may require insulin injections to reduce your blood sugar if diet and exercise are insufficient to control your blood sugar levels. Less than half of pregnant diabetic women use insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
To control blood sugar levels, some medical professionals prescribe oral medicine. More study, in the opinion of other medical professionals, is required to confirm shown oral drugs may treat gestational diabetes just as safely and effectively as insulin injections.
Keeping a close eye on your infant
Close monitoring of your infant is a crucial component of your treatment approach. Repeated ultrasounds or other examinations may be used by your doctor to monitor your baby's growth and development. Your doctor may induce labour if you do not start labour by your due date, or even sooner in some cases. The risk of difficulties for both you and your baby increases if you deliver after your due date.
Monitoring following delivery
After birth and again six to twelve weeks later, your doctor will check your blood sugar level to be sure it has recovered to the normal range.
Talk to your doctor about stepping up your preventative efforts or establishing a diabetes management plan if further tests reveal type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
Complications of Gestational Diabetes
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes might result in elevated blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can harm both you and your unborn child, increasing the probability that you will both require delivery-related surgery (C-sections).
If you have gestational diabetes, your unborn child may be more susceptible to:
Excessive weight at birth. Your baby may get too big if your blood sugar levels are over the recommended limit. Babies that weigh 9 pounds or more are more likely to experience delivery injuries, become trapped in the birth canal, or require a C-section.
Birth before term. Early labour and delivery before the due date may be more likely in those with high blood sugar levels. Due to the baby's size, an early birth may be advised.
Severe breathing problems. Early-birth babies may develop respiratory distress syndrome, which makes breathing challenging.
Reduced blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Shortly after delivery, newborns can experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Babies that have severe hypoglycemia may experience seizures. The baby's blood sugar level can be brought back to normal by prompt feedings and, occasionally, an intravenous glucose solution.
Stillbirth. Untreated gestational diabetes can cause a baby to pass away either before birth or soon after.
Additionally, gestational diabetes may raise your chance of:
Both hypertension and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia, a critical pregnancy complication that produces high blood pressure and other symptoms that can endanger both your life and the life of your unborn child, is another risk factor for high blood pressure that is increased by gestational diabetes.
Undergoing a surgical birth (C-section). If you have gestational diabetes, a C-section is more likely to occur.
Diabetes. If you already have gestational diabetes, you run the risk of developing it once again if you become pregnant again. As you age, type 2 diabetes is also more likely to strike you.
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Page last reviewed: Mar 14, 2023
Next review due: Mar 14, 2025