Gestational Diabetes: What is it?
Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. You should be screened by your doctor with an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) in weeks 24-28 of pregnancy
What Causes Gestational Diabetes
During pregnancy along with other changes your body increases in hormone production. These changes can make your body's cells less sensitive to insulin, increasing your chance of becoming insulin resistant and some women do not produce enough insulin to overcome this. This makes it more difficult for your body to control blood sugar causing your blood sugar levels to rise which leads to the development of Gestational diabetes.
Risk factors for Gestational Diabetes are similar to those for Type 2 diabetes:
- Women who are older when they become pregnant
- Women at an Unhealthy weight before pregnancy
- Women with family history of Diabetes
- Women who have had a stillbirth, large babies or Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Typically, there are no particular symptoms of Gestational Diabetes.
Some of the symptoms of diabetes are similar to those experienced normally during pregnancy, your medical history and risk factors will tell your doctor if you are likely to develop Gestational Diabetes. If you have previously been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes your doctor will screen you at the beginning of your pregnancy.
Complications and Related Health Problems
Most women with Gestational Diabetes have a normal pregnancy and birth but, in some cases, there can be complications for both mother and newborn:
- Early or Premature birth: before week 37.
- Your baby developing jaundice- yellowing of the skin or eyes- or low blood sugar.
- pre-eclampsia: a condition that causes high blood during pregnancy and can lead to further complications.
You can do a lot to manage your Gestational diabetes.
Treatment aims to maintain blood sugar around normal levels and can include
- Checking blood sugar
- Eating Healthy and at the right times- your doctor or a dietitian can create a plan for you.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity at moderate intensity can lower your blood sugar and increase your cells sensitivity to insulin. Check with your doctor about what type of exercise is best for you