Gestational diabetes, as the name suggests, happens during pregnancy. It implies a high level of blood sugar that was previously normal but elevates due to pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away by itself after you give birth, but it may develop into diabetes type 2 if you don’t pay close attention. Therefore, you must be careful and stay in close touch with your doctor to manage it. Right from using the best pregnancy test kit to giving birth, you must take the right precautions.
Gestational diabetes is primarily caused during pregnancy because your placenta produces hormones that lead to accumulation of glucose in your blood. Normally, the pancreas makes adequate insulin to manage that, but during pregnancy your blood sugar may increase beyond the required limit and cause gestational diabetes. When you’re pregnant, your body produces excessive hormones that increase the body’s resistance to insulin. The higher resistance to insulin is required for your placenta to carry the pregnancy efficiently and keep you and the baby healthy. These hormones, however, may increase over time and overly increase your body’s resistance to insulin.
The function of insulin is to help move glucose from your blood into the cells where it is used to produce energy that is transferred to the baby via the blood stream. However, increased resistance to insulin leaves extra glucose within the cells subsequently increasing the blood glucose level. Once hormones are over produced and resistance to insulin increases further, the blood sugar level increases abnormally and causes gestational diabetes.
When & What
Gestational diabetes is usually caused during the second half of one’s pregnancy, primarily between weeks 24 and 28. Women suffering from gestational diabetes usually show no specific symptoms. The disease is typically diagnosed during routine pregnancy tests and doctor visits. In some but very few cases, gestational diabetes may present itself in the form of symptoms such as feeling excessively thirsty, experiencing greater hunger than usual and a higher tendency to pee.
One common way to get diagnosed is the glucose challenge test – where you are asked to quickly drink a sugary drink to raise the sugar levels in your blood. After an hour, you are given a blood test to check how your body handled the extra sugar. If the results show that your blood sugar is higher than a designated level, you will be prescribed more tests. These include testing your blood sugar while fasting and a detailed glucose test conducted over 3 hours. This test also helps to understand if your results are currently normal but may indicate a high risk to gestational diabetes in the future. In this case, you are prescribed follow up tests to be conducted in later stages of your pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes impacts almost up to 10% of all pregnancies. If you’re wondering how much at risk you are, read the following high-risk factors:
- Overweight before pregnancy
- Asian, Hispanic, African-American or Native American origin
- Family history of diabetes
- Personal history of gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure or other related physical conditions
- History of high blood sugar, even if not diabetes
- Previously given birth to a baby that weighed over 9 pounds
- Miscarriage/ handicapped/ still born baby birth in the past
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the doctor will recommend a treatment plan based on your blood sugar levels throughout the day. More often than not, you will be advised to test your blood sugar prior to and after meals and make a conscious effort to eat healthy and exercise regularly. If the situation cannot be handled through lifestyle changes, you may be asked to regularly inject yourself with insulin to control the blood sugar level in your body. Even if you are only at risk, you must keep regular tabs on your blood sugar level using an easy to use glucose-monitoring machine.
With trusted online retailers such as Smart Medical Buyer, you can shop for all your pregnancy needs from the convenience of your home. From buying a manual breast pump online to other pregnancy supplements, everything is easily available at the click of a button.
Apart from taking regular medication and following your treatment plan, you must also make an extra effort to stay healthy and maintain a fit lifestyle. This involves eating the right food and doing so in a timely fashion. Gestational diabetes can be simply managed post pregnancy if you take your medication regularly and take small steps to maintain a low blood sugar level.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that happens during pregnancy. It implies a high level of blood sugar that was previously normal but got elevated due to pregnancy. It is usually caused during the second half of one’s pregnancy, primarily between weeks 24 and 28 and can be treated with medication and lifestyle maintainence.