Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy
One of the world’s most common chronic illnesses is type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, there is a type of diabetes that especially affects pregnant women, and that is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes in pregnancy occurs in seventeen out of one hundred women. Unlike the other types of diabetes, this is not a chronic condition and goes away after pregnancy, although it increases the woman’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus later on in life. Awareness of gestational diabetes in pregnancy can help you handle the condition if ever it affects you in the future.
Causes of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes in pregnancy happens because of the many hormonal changes that happen in a woman’s body during this stage in her life. During pregnancy, the placenta produces various hormones that impair the action of insulin in your cells, hence producing insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for converting glucose to energy. Without insulin, the body is unable to create energy and the glucose levels rise in the blood, hence causing gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Gestational diabetes in pregnancy can develop as early as the 20th week of pregnancy.
Risk factors of gestational diabetes
Some women have greater risk to develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Women who are older than age 25 are more likely to develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy, as well as those with a family history of diabetes or prediabetes. If you are overweight or obese with a body mass index of 30 or higher, you are also likely to get gestational diabetes in pregnancy. This condition is also more common among Asian, Hispanic, and black races.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
It is very rare among women who have gestational diabetes to experience symptoms. If ever they do, symptoms include increased thirst and urination, blurred vision, and increased hunger or appetite. In order to properly diagnose gestational diabetes in pregnancy, you need to be tested for his condition, usually between the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy. This test, known as the glucose screening test, is the preliminary screening for all women to determine their risk for developing gestational diabetes in pregnancy. If you tested positive in this test, you will be subjected to a confirmatory test known as the glucose tolerance test to know for certain if you have gestational diabetes.
Treatment of gestational diabetes
If you are certain that you have gestational diabetes in pregnancy, one of the treatment strategies is to monitor your blood glucose levels. This can be done by checking your blood sugar levels several times a day in order to make sure that they are within normal range. You also have to eat the right kinds and quantities of food that have high nutrients but low sugar content. It is best to consult a nutritionist in making a meal plan if you have gestational diabetes in pregnancy. You should also make sure that you exercise regularly, since physical activity can lower your blood sugar levels. If your blood glucose levels remain uncontrolled, you might need to take insulin injections to help control your glucose levels.