Home > Health Conditions During Pregnancy > Gestational Diabetes

What Is Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is usually identified in pregnant women who have never had any kind of diabetes running in her life. This type of GDM is described as an abnormally of high blood glucose levels. 

Any pregnant women having high glucose levels are dangerous during pregnancy for the mother and child. If the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased insulin demand, your glucose levels rise too high; it results in having gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Classification

There are two types of Gestational classification:

1. Gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM

2. Gestational diabetes insipidus or GDI

What Causes Diabetes During Pregnancy?

There are no known factors triggering high blood glucose during pregnancy.  Many studies have concluded due to all the hormonal changes increases in estrogens, progestin’s, and other related hormones.

Pathophysiology of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

There are many changes that over take your body while pregnant.  All the hormonal changes cause your body to be resistant to insulin. One of the main functions of the pancreas is to produce your body energy using glucose. 

When your body starts to reduce insulin throughout your pregnancy it causes your glucose levels to rise too high.  Gestational diabetes is usually detected in the second trimester or even as later as the third trimester.

What Are The Risk Factors For Gestational Diabetes?

  • Being overweight before pregnancy         
  • 25 years of age or older
  • Any history of gestational diabetes in any previous pregnancy
  • Is there any family history of type 2 diabetes?
  • Does high blood glucose exist before pregnancy?
  • High amniotic fluid levels (Polyhydramnios)
  • Any history of miscarriages?
  • Any history of stillbirth?
  • High blood pressure

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes typically does not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms.  Some of the most common symptoms pregnant may experience are:

  • Increased urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Excessive thirst

When To Call The Doctor

There are many symptoms to watch out for and might require to seek medical attention to avoid any further complications:

  •  Severe fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sores that heal slowly
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Tingling in the hands or feet
  • Joint pain
  • Severe headaches
  • Breathing fast
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea for over 5 hours

How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes?

There are no known factors triggering gestational diabetes. It’s has been linked to as a result of hormones blocking the insulin in your body.  Maintaining a healthy weight is essential to lower the risk.

Gestational Diabetes Tests And Diagnosis

The glucose screening is performed through out the 24th and 28th week.

  • Glucose Challenge Test (Type A1): The challenge test involves testing you after drinking a sweet drink. The test will determine how well your body breaks down sugar.
  • Glucose Tolerance Testing (Type A2):  The second test consists of fasting overnight and drinking a 75gm sugary beverage.

Monitoring Tests

The doctor will perform routine checkups for GDM through out the pregnancy.

These routine checkups include:

  • Frequent blood tests
  • Ultrasound exams
  • Check baby oxygen levels
  • Biophysical profile (BPP)
  • Fetal movement counting
  • Ketone test

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Treatments for gestational diabetes during pregnancy includes:

Eating balanced meals: Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking meals at home, and reducing calories intake.  A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrition it needs to function properly.

Getting Regularly Exercise:  Moderate exercises help your body use the insulin better. Exercise also helps control your blood sugar level.

Checking Blood Sugar Levels: It’s important to know when your blood sugar lever is outside the safe range.

Managing GDM With Medication

In rare situations, the doctor might have you take insulin shots for maintaining the blood sugar levels to protect the baby.  The insulin your taking does not have any side effects.

Delivering The Baby

The doctor might recommend inducing labor due to the extra glucose that causes the baby to get big.

Postpartum Care

After a couple of weeks of delivery the diabetes goes away on it’s own.

What Are The Risk of Gestational Diabetes?

Maternal Complications

  • Eclampsia
  • Preterm labor
  • Increased chances of a cesarean delivery
  • High blood pressure

Risk to the baby

  • Seizures
  • Jaundice
  • Low blood sugar
  • Birth defects
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

How Common Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes affects about 10 percent of all pregnancies.

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