Affecting up to 10% of pregnant women in the US every year, Gestational diabetes (GD) should not be overlooked. Not only is your health affected, but your baby’s too. What is Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy? GD in Pregnancy is a common condition where blood sugar level increases, resulting in a problematic delivery if not treated well.
Don’t worry yet because there is a way to control your blood sugar level by eating the right food and exercising. Plus, it usually returns to normal after delivery. Read on for more information and for tips on how to avoid it.
Take note that if you already have existing diabetes or had GD before, then there is a risk for type 2 diabetes. You have to get yourself tested more often.
What is Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy?
It refers to a condition which healthy women without diabetes condition develop high blood sugar during their pregnancy. Babies who are born to mothers who are unable to control their sugar level during pregnancy will likely to be born too large, have tendency of low sugar level after birth and jaundice. Let’s read more about it in this article.
What are the Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy?
Interestingly, there are usually no symptoms. You’ll only find out about it when your urine and blood level get tested, finding an unusual level of sugar in it.
If you find yourself getting thirstier than usual, needing to frequently pee in large amounts, and experiencing fatigue, you may have to check with your doctor.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
Insulin is released by your pancreas when you eat. This hormone helps move sugar or glucose from your blood to your cells, which becomes energy. However, during pregnancy, your placenta makes hormones that result in a glucose build-up.
Your pancreas usually sends out enough insulin to fix it. But in some cases, your body can’t make enough insulin, or sometimes, it stops using insulin as it should. This raises your sugar levels, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Some women have more significant risks of getting GD. The risk factors include being overweight, lack of physical activity, and having experienced GD before. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome and if your family member has diabetes, you should watch out too.
What are the Complications of Gestational Diabetes That May Affect Your Baby?
With Gestational Diabetes, your baby may have the following risk:
- Low blood sugar. Also called hypoglycemia, this can cause seizures in the baby. This can be solved by prompt feedings, which can return the baby’s blood sugar level to normal.
- Obesity. Babies have a higher risk of developing obesity for mothers who have gestational diabetes. They are also at risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in their lives.
- Excessive birth weight. If the mothers have higher blood sugar, this can result in their baby growing too large up to nine pounds – or even more. It will be a difficult delivery and likely to have birth injuries, become wedged in the birth canal, or going through C-section.
- Early birth. Abnormal blood sugar levels may put mothers into premature labor and delivery.
- Difficulty in breathing. Your baby may be diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome, where he will have severe breathing difficulties.
- Stillbirth. If left untreated, it can, unfortunately, result in a baby’s death.
How about Gestational Diabetes Complications That May Affect You?
You have to watch out for the following:
- Getting high blood pressure. The worst that can happen is preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that can put you at risk of brain injury. It can also impair liver function and kidney, cause blood-clotting problems and fluid on the lungs.
- Going through C-section. This is recommended if there are other complications caused by gestational diabetes.
- Getting diabetes in the future. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the chance of you getting future diabetes after pregnancy is high.
How Do You Treat and Prevent Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy?
The potential risk GD causes can be eliminated during pregnancy. Here’s what doctors recommend to those diagnosed with it:
- Review your food options with a registered dietician or nutritionist. They can develop a diet plan that can help you control your sugar level and still provide the calories and nutrients for your baby.
What the dietician usually recommend will base on your height and weight. You may need to lower down to 1,800 calories a day if you are overweight. It is also helpful to write down what you eat.
- Get more exercise. Mild to moderate activities for up to thirty minutes a day can help you use your insulin better. Just make sure to consult your doctor first with the safe exercise for you.
- Monitor your blood sugar level. Get a blood glucose meter from your doctor and regularly check your sugar level (before and after meals). This is to ensure that your diet change and exercise are working.
Prevention is always better than cure, so hurrah for you if you’re not diagnosed yet!
You can prevent gestational diabetes in pregnancy by avoiding excess weight gain. It is better to start pregnancy with a healthy weight to focus on good eating habits that can help you during pregnancy. Avoid overeating and continuously watch out for your weight gain.
Most importantly is keeping active. If you are used to exercising even before pregnancy, even better. It can be your daily walk or swimming lapses. Every movement counts!