Gestational diabetes can make women susceptible to many risks during pregnancy. Read on to learn more about the causes, symptoms and effects of gestational diabetes.
If a woman who was never diagnosed with diabetes before is diagnosed with high sugar during pregnancy, she is said to have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes or high sugar can cause harmful effects during pregnancy. Therefore, right measures should be taken to manage it if it is diagnosed during pregnancy. Let us take a quick look at common concerns of pregnant women regarding gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?
Excessive hunger and thirst, frequent urination in the 2nd trimester, recurrent vaginal infections and an increase in blood pressure. It is always good to do a test for blood sugar, between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.
I am still urinating frequently in my 4th month. Could I be going in for gestational diabetes?
Your body has to provide enough glucose to the growing foetus. Since insulin regulates the level of sugar in your blood, and ensures that your own body is well nourished, pregnancy triggers anti insulin mechanisms to make sure enough sugar remains circulating in your blood stream to nourish the baby. Sometimes it leaves more sugar than is required by both mother and child. This excessive sugar is passed into the urine.
In the 2nd trimester, this anti-insulin effect increases. So there is no cause for worry as roughly 50% of pregnant women show sugar in their urine. Most of the time, the body responds with an increased production of insulin. However, about 1% - 2% of women may be unable to produce enough insulin at a time to handle this increase, or are unable to use this insulin efficiently. This results in gestational diabetes or carbohydrate intolerance, which normally disappears after delivery.
What are the harmful effects of high sugar? Dr. Mansukhani
For the mother - High sugar, or diabetes, can cause miscarriages, abnormal foetus, and premature delivery.
For the baby? High sugar in mother leads to a drop in blood glucose of the baby after delivery (hypoglycemia).
If I am a diabetic mother, can I have a healthy baby?
In the past, women who had diabetes were placed in the high-risk category for pregnancy. However, with the advances in modern medicine, this is not necessarily true. As long as blood sugar levels are closely monitored through diet and medication, if necessary, diabetic women should be able to have trouble-free pregnancies and healthy babies. (But it is very important to control your sugar throughout pregnancy).
How can sugar levels be controlled?
Pregnant women who are diabetic should follow a strict diet as prescribed by a trained nutritionist. They should aim to reach their ideal weight before conception, rather than attempting to slim down during the gestational period. Diabetic women should follow a regimen of moderate exercise after consulting their doctors. They should ensure that they rest adequately and must be very particular about monitoring their blood sugar levels. This may involve testing blood sugar as often as four to ten times a day. Remember that the key to a normal pregnancy for diabetic women is that they maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Who are at the risk of developing gestational diabetes?
Although, the risk of gestational diabetes cannot be ruled out in any pregnant woman, here are some health conditions which make women susceptible to gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy can increase the chances of diabetes in the subsequent pregnancy as well.
Women with PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome are likely to get affected with gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Women who are overweight or obese can also develop gestational diabetes.
Women who get pregnant in their 30s are at the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Health disorders like glucose intolerance may also be responsible for development of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Family history of diabetes can also make women susceptible to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Certain medications taken for dealing with health issues like asthma, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure or mental illness can also make women vulnerable to diabetes.
It is possible to have a healthy baby if gestational diabetes is managed properly during pregnancy. But you should remember that prevention is better than cure. By following a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy it is possible to prevent gestational diabetes. At the same time following doctor’s advice is also a must.
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- The Indiaparenting Team