Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a temporary condition of high blood sugar levels due to an insufficient supply of insulin during pregnancy without having diabetes mellitus. It actually occurs only during pregnancy and blood sugar level rises in pregnant women, so also known as gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. It is caused by having not enough insulin in the setting of insulin resistance.
If it is not treated on time, it can lead to many complications like preeclampsia, cesarean section, too large baby size, etc. A high blood glucose level is not dangerous only for the mother but also for the baby. But there is good news that pregnant women can control this diabetes by taking a healthy diet, exercises, or medication, if necessary. In gestational diabetes, blood glucose usually returns to the normal level soon after the delivery. But if pregnant women have had gestational diabetes mellitus, she is at higher risk for type 2 diabetes Mellitus in her later life.
Why Gestational Diabetes Occurs?
Gestational diabetes mellitus happens when your body doesn’t make the extra insulin that is needed during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone that releases by your pancreas and helps the body to use the glucose for the energy or functions for the body’s cell. And also helps to control your blood glucose levels, because it lowers the blood glucose by transporting it to the peripheral tissues. Therefore, Pregnant women who are unable to make enough insulin during their late pregnancy develop gestational diabetes mellitus.
Risk Factors For Gestational Diabetes
Any pregnant woman can have gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, but some women are at higher risk. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include
- Family history
- Age greater than 30
- Previous pregnancy history of gestational diabetes
- Overweight or obese women
- Poor dietary intakes during pregnancy black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian women
- Environmental factors
Who Gets Gestational Diabetes Mellitus?
Approximately 2-5% of pregnant women suffering from gestational diabetes but this percentage is being increased up to 8-9%. The screening for this diabetes mellitus usually takes place between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. During these weeks, the placenta produces a large number of pregnancy hormones which can cause insulin resistance. Therefore, If the insulin level is still high, further tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Signs & Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Pregnant women who are above the age of 35s or overweight can have gestational diabetes due to not supply of extra insulin to the body. Such gestational diabetic mothers have the following signs and symptoms
- Elevated blood sugar
- Sugar in urine (revealed in a test done )
- Unusual thirst
- Increased appetite
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Blurring of vision
- Frequent skin infections
- vaginal infections
- bladder infections
Treatment Options For Gestational Diabetes
The primary purpose of treating gestational diabetes is actually controlling the blood glucose level. There are a few steps that you can take in order to assure you to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. They are
- Have Regular follow up
- Regular monitoring of your baby and you
- Insulin therapy, if it is necessary
- Self-monitoring of the blood glucose levels
- Take a healthy diet and exercise management
- Avoid fatty foods
- Don’t take too much sweet dishes
- Try to maintain your body weight
- Stay healthy before pregnancy
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of water or juices
- Control diabetes after the pregnancy
Therefore, It is very necessary to diagnose gestational diabetes as early as possible and start the relevant treatment. However, if gestational diabetes is not treated early, it can affect on the mother as well as the baby. It can include:
- Premature delivery
- Large birth weight
- Prolonged labor
- Increased chance of cesarean delivery
A high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life. A slightly increased risk of fetal and neonatal death. Extra glucose in the mother’s blood can cross the placenta, which stimulates the baby’s pancreas to make more insulin. Due to this extra insulin production your baby to grow too large ( this is called macrosomia)