What is gestational diabetes: Symptoms, Dangers, Treatments

What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes (GD) is a potentially dangerous condition developed during pregnancy, where the mom-to-be’s body does not make enough insulin to properly process glucose, or sugars.

How is GD diagnosed?
By the 28 th week of pregnancy, most doctors administer a routine, simple blood test, which measures the pregnant woman’s ability to tolerate and process glucose. If the mom-to-be fails that one-step test, a more involved, fasting test is given, to further check for GD.

What are some symptoms of GD?
Unfortunately, GD very rarely has physical symptoms and often comes as a surprise to pregnant women. Some women may experience increased thirst and/or hunger, fatigue, more frequent urination and some blurred vision.
what is gestational diabetes What is gestational diabetes: Symptoms, Dangers, Treatments
What are some of the dangers?
“The risks to the fetus include large birth weight and intrauterine death,” says Dr. Les Wasserman, an OB-GYN in Virginia. “The fetus must be monitored closely by ultrasound and non-stress tests during the last 8 weeks of pregnancy.  Delivery is usually performed 3-4 weeks before the due date to protect the baby.” Some of the risks to the mom-to-be are excessive weight gain, being more likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy, and the possibility of developing adult-onset diabetes after giving birth.   When GD is properly controlled, the chance of complications is very low.

How is GD treated?
The condition is treated by lowering the mom-to-be’s blood sugar, namely through diet and exercise. Gestational Diabetes can be greatly controlled by adhering to the diabetic diet, which allows for an intake of 2000-2400 calories per day.   The diet entails drastically cutting fats, sugars and carbohydrates, and increasing one’s protein consumption.   Should diet and exercise fail to control the woman’s blood sugar, insulin injections may be necessary.

Are some women more prone to developing GD?
Anyone with a history of diabetes should watch out, says Dr. Wasserman. Women who have had GD in previous pregnancies are also susceptible.   Obesity and previous large babies may further make a mom-to-be more prone to developing this condition.

Can GD be prevented?
Following a healthy diet and a moderate exercise regimen may help prevent the onset of GD during pregnancy. Be aware of risk factors, and be sure to get tested for this potentially dangerous pregnancy complication.

What to expect after giving birth?
GD usually disappears after giving birth; however, some women develop adult-onset diabetes after pregnancy. Be sure to receive adequate postpartum care and monitor blood glucose levels if the possibility of diabetes is suspected.   If you developed GD, watch for it early in future pregnancies, keeping to a healthy diet and managing your weight.   Also make sure your child receives adequate attention—babies of pregnant women who develop GD are at risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Posted by on Jun 21 2012. Filed under Pregnancy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry


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