Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women. It is estimated about 5-10% of pregnant women are affected by this condition. In this type of diabetes, blood glucose levels in the woman’s body are raised beyond the normal ranges of pregnancy.
How Gestational Diabetes Affects Pregnant Women
Placenta plays a very important role in the woman’s body during her pregnancy period. It allows food and oxygen to pass from the mother to the baby. It also produces hormones that help in the growth and development of the baby. A pregnant mother is required to produce about 2-3 times more insulin so as to overcome insulin resistance. If the woman’s body is unable to generate adequate insulin, excess glucose will congest in the bloodstream, causing gestational diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
There are no symptoms associated with this type of diabetes. You only need to get yourself screened in order to know whether you are affected or not. Gestational diabetes screening entails an oral glucose tolerance test. Gestational diabetes is a common occurrence in most pregnant mothers nowadays. It is a condition that is only diagnosed during pregnancy stage. After delivery, patients are not considered diabetic anymore.
Diagnosis and When You Should Be Screened
All pregnant women should be screened around 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. This is because hormone levels during this week are much higher as compared to other weeks. Diagnosis at this stage will be beneficial since it allows time to manage the glucose levels, so as to manage growth and development of the baby, and prevent complications. This test is very important especially if the woman had been previously diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Risk Factors Of Developing Gestational Diabetes
Some women who are at a higher risk of developing this condition, may be screened earlier than the 24th to the 28th week. You are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if you’re;
- Over 35 years of age
- Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
- If you’re an overweight
- If you experience gestational diabetes during your previous pregnancy
Most women affected by this condition can give birth to a healthy baby if blood glucose levels are kept within a safe range. If the condition is not taken care of, higher blood glucose levels can cause problems to you and the baby.
- Heath risks
- Having high blood glucose levels during your pregnancy is very dangerous to you and your baby. This is because;
- It can lead to high blood pressure
- Risk of an early delivery if the baby grows too large
- The baby may experience low blood glucose levels for a few days after delivery
You are in a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the near future (but this doesn’t happen to all affected mothers)
Although there are health rsiks associated with Gestational diabetes, good news is that your baby will not be affected with any type of diabetes after being delivered, and the mother’s blood glucose level will return to normal when the baby is born. Gestational diabetes is condition that can be managed. Pregnant women should be monitoring their blood sugars to determine whether you need treatment plan or not.