Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which women are susceptible to get at the time of pregnancy. Almost 10% of all pregnant women have gestational diabetes that makes it a common problem at the time pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are many hormonal changes, which can result in making the body less responsive to insulin, and if pancreas does not produce more insulin to meet the changed requirement, then glucose level in blood increases, causing gestational diabetes.
Normally after birth of baby the women who had gestational diabetes does not remain diabetic but such women have a higher risk of again having gestational diabetes during next pregnancy as well as having diabetes afterwards in life.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
There are no symptoms of gestational diabetes, which is why all expectant mothers go through glucose screening test in the period between 24 to 28 weeks. In case, you fall in the high-risk group for diabetes, then the doctor will ask for this test at the time of first prenatal visit and repeat it between 24 and 28 weeks, in case negative result occurs during the initial test.
Even if the result is positive, a follow up test will be done called GTT or Glucose Tolerance Test to confirm the results.
Who are at high risk of having gestational diabetes?
As per ADA or American Diabetes Association, you are in high-risk category if:
- You are obese with BMI of more than 30
- Sugar is coming in urine
- You had this problem during earlier pregnancy
- Other family members had or have diabetes
- You are aged more than 35
- Your previous child was a big baby of about 4.5 kilos
- There was unexplained stillbirth or previous baby had birth defects
- You are suffering from high blood pressure
Additionally, if you are overweight or gain a lot of weight in first trimester of pregnancy then risks of gestational diabetes increases further.
Effect of Gestational Diabetes on Pregnancy and Baby
Generally, women with gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies, if they exercises and implement dietary changes to check the blood sugar levels. In case, sugar levels do not remain in check then it can create problems for you as well as your baby. There will high glucose level in child’s blood and cause the baby to be overweight and create problems in normal delivery.
In addition to it, the child will remain overweight in childhood as well as adulthood. In case at the time of labor the sugar levels are very high then the baby soon after delivery will have low blood sugar called as hypoglycemia. In case the child blood sugar levels are not checked properly right after birth to take preventive action then it can lead to complications like coma, brain damage or seizure.
Things to do if you have gestational diabetes
First thing you will have to do is properly track glucose levels with the help of a glucose meter so that you know if your glucose levels are increasing. The other things you should do include:
The diet should be such that it has proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats along with minerals and vitamins. Glucose levels will remain stable if you do not skip meals, more importantly the breakfast. Try as much as possible to avoid sugary items such as cakes, candies or cookies.
Moderate exercises on a daily basis can help the body to process glucose and assist in controlling sugar levels. 30 minutes of walking on daily basis can be quite beneficial in this situation.
Gestational diabetes certainly poses many risks for the mother as well baby; however, if mothers take precaution and undergo regular tests, they can deliver a healthy baby without spoiling their own health.