The condition of High blood sugar developed between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy is called gestational diabetes.
Developing Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy does not mean that it will remain after pregnancy and the same can be controlled with timely action and treatment. Without proper management, it may progress into Type-2 Diabetes and the child may also develop diabetes in the future.
What are the causes of Gestational Diabetes?
During pregnancy women’s bodies tend to gain weight and naturally become slightly Insulin resistant to retain more glucose to fulfill the fetus (baby) needs.
Also, during pregnancy-related Hormones tends to increase and may also women insulin resistant. Obesity and weight gain are prime causes of developing Gestational Diabetes.
Who is prone to Gestational Diabetes?
Following women are susceptible to Gestational Diabetes.
- Women suffering from Prediabetes.
- Women who are overweight.
- Women having High Blood Pressure.
- Women who have a history of Diabetes in the Family.
- Women who are expecting multiple babies.
- Women having acanthosis nigricans, polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), or any other Insulin resistance condition.
- Women who are treated with steroids for some other existing condition for a long time.
- Women have given birth to babies with weights of more than 9 pounds in their last pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?
Most of the symptoms in Gestational Diabetes are generally mild and most times are misunderstood as occurring due to pregnancy. Commonly occurring are
- Feeling of excess thirst.
- Excess need for urination.
- Blurring of vision
- Yeast infection
How is Gestational Diabetes diagnosed?
Doctors generally conduct the Following Tests:
Glucose challenge test:
Here Glucose mixed with water is given to the individual and blood glucose is tested in a blood sample. If the reading is more than 140 he is subjected to an Oral Glucose tolerance test and if the reading is 200 or more he or she might have Type-2 Diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test:
Here the first sample of blood is taken after 8 hours of fasting preferably morning without food and after that Here Glucose mixed with water is given to the individual.
A further sample is drawn every hour 2-3 times to study glucose content. If high blood sugar is found in most of the tests the individual may have Gestational Diabetes.
What is the treatment for Gestational Diabetes?
Treatment varies individually and generally, depends on Individual Blood Glucose levels. Physician generally prescribes monitoring blood glucose before and after meals and throughout the day to plan treatment.
Additionally Insulin injections or medicines may be prescribed till pregnancy. A further most common instruction is to take a nutrient-rich diet along with exercise.
What are the effects of Gestational Diabetes on pregnant women?
Women with Gestational Diabetes are more prone to High Blood Pressure if are not treated timely. This may also progress into preeclampsia. Also, women are prone to Surgical Delivery (C- Section) and most commonly are prone to Type-2 Diabetes after pregnancy.
What are the effects of Gestational Diabetes on a newborn baby?
- Weight of baby: Higher Blood sugar may lead to an increase in the size and weight of the baby. A baby weighing more than 9 pounds may cram into the birth canal during delivery or cause birth injuries and increase the chances of C- Section delivery.
- Hypoglycemia: Gestational Diabetes mothers may deliver babies with Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) shortly after birth which may further exacerbate seizure episodes and need prompt feeding and intravenous glucose to make it normal.
- Respiratory distress syndrome: Early-born babies with Gestational Diabetes mothers may face breathing difficulties.
- Preterm Birth: High Blood Sugar may force early birth or early labor.
- Type-2 Diabetes and Obese: Babies born to Gestational Diabetes mothers are more prone to develop Type-2 Diabetes in the later phase of life.
- Stillbirth: If Gestational Diabetes is not treated timely and if the condition exacerbates may lead to the death of a newborn.