What Is Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It affects pregnant women who have never had diabetes before usually appears around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. It is estimated to affect about 7% of all pregnancies in the United States.
Causes Risk Factors
The exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown but it is believed to be related to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant your body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. If your body can’t produce enough insulin to overcome this increased resistance gestational diabetes may occur. Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Having previously given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Having gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- Being older than 25
Gestational diabetes often has no noticeable symptoms which is why it is important for all pregnant women to undergo routine screening for this condition. Typically you will receive a glucose screening test between weeks 24 28 of your pregnancy. If the initial screening indicates a high blood sugar level a follow-up glucose tolerance test will be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Impact on Mother Baby
Gestational diabetes can have various health impacts on both the mother the baby. If left unmanaged it can lead to high blood pressure preeclampsia gestational hypertension in the mother. The baby may be at risk of excessive birth weight preterm birth low blood sugar levels respiratory distress syndrome. It is crucial to control blood sugar levels through diet exercise occasionally medication if necessary to minimize these risks.
The primary aim of treating gestational diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels within a target range. This is usually achieved through regular physical activity a well-balanced diet monitoring blood sugar levels throughout the day. In some cases insulin or other medications may be prescribed by a healthcare provider. Regular prenatal check-ups close monitoring are crucial to ensure a healthy pregnancy manage gestational diabetes effectively.
Gestational diabetes can be a cause for concern during pregnancy but with proper management it can typically be controlled. It is important to follow the guidance provided by your healthcare team make healthy lifestyle choices closely monitor your blood sugar levels. By doing so you can reduce the risks associated with gestational diabetes have a healthy pregnancy.