Diabetes Explained: Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes found only in pregnant women. Around 4% of pregnant women will develop this type of Diabetes during their pregnancy, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they will have diabetes after giving birth to their child. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Gestational Diabetes carries a great risk for the baby.

Gestational DiabetesGestational Diabetes according to Wikipedia: “Gestational diabetes (or gestational diabetes mellitus, GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes generally has few symptoms and it is most commonly diagnosed by screening during pregnancy. Diagnostic tests detect inappropriately high levels of glucose in blood samples. Gestational diabetes affects 3-10% of pregnancies, depending on the population studied. No specific cause has been identified, but it is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy increase a woman’s resistance to insulin, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance. “

Causes of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus are not quite known, but due to hormonal changes during the pregnancy your body has a hard time keeping up with the needs and the production of insulin. In the end the woman’s body doesn’t get enough energy from the intake of food.

The symptoms are exactly like with Type1 Diabetes Mellitus and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. What causes the biggest issue with this type of diabetes is the risk for the baby. If Gestational Diabetes is caught in time there shouldn’t be a great risk, but if left unchecked it can cause the following issues:

–    Baby can have a low blood glucose right after being born
–    Baby can also have breathing problems
–    Can have extra fat

To make sure that your baby is ok the doctors will run immediate tests like ultrasound, special stress tests and kick counts. The issue here is that both mother and child are at risk of having Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus for the rest of their lives.

In some cases the symptoms of Gestational Diabetes will not show but nevertheless they may cause increased risk of high blood pressure, possibility of giving birth to a large baby which would require a Cesarean section.

On the bright side in most cases Gestational Diabetes disappears after giving birth. But if you are not careful later you are at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. You may also develop Gestational Diabetes if you get pregnant again.

Treatment is based on the seriousness of your condition. In some cases insulin may be needed, but in most cases a prescribed diet and regular activity will help you overcome this condition.

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