Gestational diabetes is the term used when diabetes is first found during pregnancy (gestation). Gestational diabetes changes how your cells use sugar, like other types of diabetes do (glucose). High blood sugar levels from gestational diabetes can harm your and your unborn child’s health.
Even while any pregnancy-related issue is concerning, there is good news. Pregnancy-related gestational diabetes can be controlled with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and, if required, medication. In addition, controlling your blood sugar can help you and your unborn child stay healthy and prevent a difficult delivery.
Your blood sugar levels often return to normal blood sugar soon after giving birth if you had gestational diabetes while pregnant. However, if you’ve ever had gestational diabetes, your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes is elevated.
Diabetes brought on by pregnancy frequently shows no visible signs or symptoms. However, increased thirst and more frequent urination are examples of potential symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend urine or blood tests for high glucose levels.
When to visit the doctor
If at all feasible, seek medical attention as soon as you consider trying for a baby so your doctor can assess your overall health and gestational diabetes risk. Then, when you get pregnant, a member of your prenatal care team will check you for gestational diabetes.
You could require more frequent examinations if you develop gestational diabetes. These are most likely to happen in the latter three months of pregnancy when your doctor will check your unborn child’s health and blood sugar level.
Reason before gestational diabetes
Why some women get gestational diabetes while others don’t is still a mystery.
Typically, several hormones control blood sugar levels. However, due to altered hormone levels during pregnancy, the body has more difficulty effectively processing blood sugar. A blood sugar rise results from this.
Pregnancy-related diabetes risk factors include:
- being obese or overweight
- without engaging in any exercise
- being pre-diabetic
- previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes
- A polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis
- Having a diabetic relative of close family
- Being an American who belongs to a particular racial or ethnic group, such as Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian, having just had a child who weighed more than nine pounds (4.1 kilogrammes),
Problems that could happen to you
Additionally, gestational diabetes may raise your chance of:
Both hypertension and pre-eclampsia.
Preeclampsia, a critical pregnancy complication that produces high blood pressure and other symptoms that can endanger your life and your unborn child’s life, is another risk factor for high blood pressure that is increased by gestational diabetes.
Undergoing a surgical birth (C-section).
An elective C-section is more likely to occur if you have gestational diabetes.
If you already have gestational diabetes, you risk developing it again if you become pregnant. In addition, as you age, type 2 diabetes is more likely to strike you.
The more healthy behaviours you can develop before becoming pregnant, the better. There is no guarantee when we talk about gestational diabetes. However, these healthy choices could lower your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes or experiencing gestational diabetes again if you’ve already had it.
- Eat nutritious foods.
Pick fibre-rich, calorie- and fat-free foods. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. To assist you in achieving your goals without sacrificing flavour or nutrients, strive for variety. Observe serving sizes.
- Keep moving.
You can prevent gestational diabetes mellitus by exercising before, during, and after pregnancy. On most days of the week, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise. Go for a quick walk each day. Take a bike ride. Swimming laps Short spurts of activity, such as leaving your car farther from the store when running errands or taking a quick walk break, add up.
- Pregnancy should begin at a healthy weight.
Pregnancy may be healthier if you lose weight before getting pregnant. Focus on making long-lasting nutritional changes that will help you while you’re pregnant, such as boosting the number of fruits and vegetables you eat.
- Avoid gaining more weight than is advised.
Pregnancy-related weight gain is average and healthy. However, if you put on too much weight too rapidly, you risk developing gestational diabetes. Consult your doctor to determine the appropriate amount of weight gain for you.
- Follow your doctor’s advice.
If you have had gestational diabetes before, speak to your doctor about ways to prevent it in future pregnancies. They can suggest lifestyle modifications and other measures that you can take to reduce your risk.
- Take the necessary tests.
Your doctor will recommend taking blood sugar tests before and during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the possible implications of gestational diabetes on your own health and your unborn child’s health.
- Be mindful of your baby’s development.
If you have gestational diabetes, monitor your baby’s development and alert your doctor if you notice any changes. Your doctor may advise additional tests to monitor the baby’s health.
It is also essential to monitor your own blood sugar levels, as gestational diabetes can lead to a condition called pre-eclampsia. This type of high blood pressure can have severe consequences for you and your unborn child. But, again, seeking medical attention is the safest way to manage gestational diabetes and its risks.
Adequate glycemic management is crucial in preventing complications since gestational diabetes can affect both the mother and the foetus. For many women, non-pharmacologic interventions, including diet and exercise, suffice to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Nevertheless, some women might need different pharmacologic treatments; in this instance, insulin is frequently the primary option, followed by metformin or glyburide.
The most common recommendation is for patients with gestational diabetes to self-monitor their blood glucose levels 1 or 2 hours postprandially to ensure they attain an adequate glycemic control level. These women should also undergo postpartum screening since they have a higher chance of acquiring overt diabetes.
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