Gestational diabetes happens only during pregnancy. It causes high blood sugar that affects your pregnancy and your baby’s health. But as far as pregnancy complications go this is actually the most manageable. If you eat right and healthy, exercise and if need be go on medication, chances are that you can control it.
What causes Gestational Diabetes?
- Pregnancy hormones are produced by placenta lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. If your pancreas does not make enough insulin handle that, your blood sugar levels will rise and cause gestational diabetes.
- It usually develops in the first half of the pregnancy.
For most women gestational diabetes does not cause any signs or symptoms.
Factors that can increase the risk of gestational diabetes
Some women are more at risk of developing gestational diabetes than others. These could be the reasons why they are at greater risk.
- Older women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
- You could be more at risk of gestational diabetes if your parents or siblings suffer from type2 diabetes. Or if you are suffering from pre-diabetes which is a precursor to type2 diabetes.
- A BMI of 30 or higher means that you are a likely candidate for gestational diabetes.
If you are over 30, have a family history of diabetes or are overweight, it is better to have your blood sugar monitored right from the beginning of the first trimester.
Complications due to Gestational Diabetes
- The high level of blood sugar in your body and placenta triggers a higher production of insulin in the baby’s pancreas. This can make your baby grow large which is a condition called macrosomia. Large babies are more at risk of injury during delivery and may require a C-section.
- Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome.
- The likelihood of preterm labour is high when you have gestational diabetes. Or the doctor might suggest an early delivery because the baby has grown in size.
- Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes might suffer from hypoglycemia. It is a condition of low sugar level in your baby’s body due to a large amount of insulin present in the blood. This can cause seizures in your baby. Proper feeding and intravenous glucose can bring the sugar level to normal.
- You are at higher risk of type2 diabetes after delivery if you have gestational diabetes.
- Untreated gestational diabetes can cause still birth.
- Check your blood sugar levels four or five times a day.
- Do urine check for ketones
- Eat a healthy diet suitable in line with your nutritionist’s recommendations.
- Exercise regularly
- Control your weight.
If possible seek help early. Even before you have conceived. Especially if you are overweight or over 30 in age. That way your doctor can evaluate your risk of gestational diabetes as part of the health check up. Once the baby is delivered your blood sugar will come down to normal