Gestational Diabetes during Pregnancy : Causes and Treatment

What is gestational diabetes mellitus

A condition in which either a women previously treated with diabetes has high glucose levels during pregnancy or a women with no diabetes but has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. It is also termed as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). It occurs due to improper insulin responses. This is one of the most common health complication faced during pregnancy. Almost 10% of the expectant mothers develop this. It occurs because the body cannot make enough insulin during pregnancy. Insulin, a hormone produced by pancreas – an organ located behind stomach, uses glucose in the blood for producing energy and controlling the blood sugar levels. When insulin is insufficiently produced and fails to use glucose for energy production, the glucose levels in the blood rise and leads to hyperglycemia. There are no signs and symptoms in this condition.

The causes leading to gestational diabetes are weight gain, having a hormonal disorder, having prediabetes, had gestational diabetes before, age > 25, etc. By losing some weight, it is easier to lower the risk of gestational diabetes. If you are planning to get pregnant, increase your physical activities to avoid having gestational diabetes. Between 24 and 48 weeks after the pregnancy test results positive, you can get your gestational diabetes checked. It can also lead to problems in mom-to-be like preeclampsia and depression. Baby is also at risk of developing problems like early birth, excessive birth weight, type 2 diabetes in later life, and even baby’s death.

It can be treated and diagnosed but during late pregnancy. Since gestational diabetes affects mother during late pregnancy, it does not leads to any birth defects. Taking action right away is beneficial to both mom-to-be and baby, because untreated or uncontrolled gestational diabetes with high blood glucose levels can hurt your baby and will lead to macrosomia – a fat baby. If your blood glucose level is too low, the baby will have hypoglycemia right after birth. The baby can have jaundice too. For this, a health care team would be of concern. Obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is the doctor who will take of the baby delivery. To help you in having proper meals, a dietitian will of great help. You can log on www.nextdoorlab.com or give a missed call on 0124-222-3197 and consult free with the doctor. Blood sample is required for this test, which will be collected free from your place. Other tests include oral glucose tolerance test, screening glucose challenge test, and ultrasound. Regular check-ups, physical activity, healthy eating, and insulin shots (if required) will help in controlling blood glucose levels. Your baby’s close monitoring is also important for the treatment plan.

Once treated effectively and given birth to baby, the doctor will check again the blood sugar after delivery and again in 6-12 weeks to ensure normal levels. If blood sugar levels are found to increase beyond the normal level, then ask your doctor about the preventive measures. In addition, ask to prepare a diabetes management plan for you.

image credit : americanpregnancy

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