Learn about the causes and symptoms of gestational diabetes and risks associated with developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
I'm still urinating frequently. 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 gets spilled 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. But about 1% - 2% may be unable to produce enough insulin at a time to handle this increase, or are unable to use this insulin efficiently. This is called gestational diabetes or carbohydrate intolerance, and normally disappears after delivery.
What are the risks associated with gestational diabetes?
Here we shall take a look at some of the possible risk factors associated with gestational diabetes.
1. It might lead to obesity or excess weight gain.
2. Weight of the baby may be around 9 pounds.
3. You may suffer from PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome.
How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
You need to go for blood tests to know if you are suffering from gestational diabetes. The tests are generally carried out from the 24th to the 28th week. However, you may be suggested to go for the tests if any risk factors surface in your pregnancy.
A glucose challenge test is performed where you are asked to take a sugary drink and your blood sugar levels are tested after that by drawing your blood. In some cases you may be advised to go for another screening test called the oral glucose challenge test or OGTT. In this test the baseline blood glucose level is measured in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd hour after you have taken a sugary beverage.
Glycated haemoglobin is another test performed in this case. This helps monitoring the glucose level in those suffering from diabetes. You can know about percentage of glucose level in your blood over the past few months.
What are the effects of gestational diabetes on the baby?
With proper medical care you can still give birth to healthy babies. When your glucose levels are high, your baby too has high glucose levels. High blood sugar levels may increase weight of the baby and make delivery all the more complicated. Baby is also exposed to the risk of low blood sugar after birth. Some other serious conditions that might arise include respiratory distress syndrome, foetal death, and risk of jaundice. Also, there are chances of the baby developing Type 2 diabetes later in life or get overweight.
How to cope with gestational diabetes?
You must go through the regular checkups and treatment options to reduce risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. When you follow the regular treatment plan, chances of complications and problems are reduce to a considerable extent. Treatment procedures include the right exercises and proper diet. You may be advised to follow a nutritional expert’s advice for your daily diet. The diet plan shall help monitoring your glucose level.
You may also be asked to measure your blood glucose levels before and after food. This shall help determine if the levels are within permissible range. You may have to test your blood glucose level four times a day. Your doctor may also ask you to go for urine tests at times to check for ketones. The ketones in your body get elevated when it cannot use glucose to produce energy.
Sometimes, exercise and diet is not sufficient for maintaining the glucose levels, in such cases you may be advised to take insulin shots. Your dependence on insulin shall change with progresses you make in pregnancy. So, make sure to visit your doctor from time to time to alter your insulin doses.
How to preventing gestational diabetes?
Even though it cannot be prevented all the time, you can do your bit to reduce the risk factors. Cases like obesity increases chances of developing gestational diabetes. It is good idea to maintain healthy weight and follow the nutritional diet your doctor suggests.
A healthy lifestyle shall help reduce chances of you developing gestational diabetes before and after pregnancy.
What is gestational diabetes? How to prevent gestational diabetes during pregnancy? What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team