Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
Like other forms of diabetes, the disease is a condition where the body does not properly process food into energy resulting in high glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. If untreated, complications can develop in both the unborn baby and the mother.
Gestational diabetes can occur in women who have had no prior diabetes related diagnosis and they may show any signs of the disease.
GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST
As part of your prenatal care at Rosemark, we conduct a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) as soon as 24-28 weeks of your pregnancy.
When we conduct this test, you will be given a Glucola drink upon arrival. An hour after you’ve finished drinking the Glucola drink, a blood sample will be collected from a vein in your arm, and your glucose level will be analyzed.
You do not have to be fasting for this test. We recommend you eat a well-balanced breakfast before you come into the clinic for the GTT.
When we receive your test results, if your glucose levels are not within a normal range, you will be scheduled for a 3-hour glucose test to determine if you have gestational diabetes.
CAUSES & SIGNS
Researchers are unsure exactly what causes gestational diabetes but it is known that the placenta produces hormones that can cause high blood sugar and these hormones impede the mother’s production of insulin in her body. When the body is making poor quality of insulin, the condition is referred to as insulin resistance.
A pregnant woman may not have any signs of diabetes but through blood tests as part of Rosmark’s prenatal care, the disease will become evident. Common signs of diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight Gain
Some of these symptoms are typical with pregnancy, like nausea and weight gain, which is why blood tests confirm the disease.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Any woman may develop gestational diabetes but women who are at a higher risk include those who:
- Are older than 25
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Have prediabetes
- Are significantly overweight
- Have a nonwhite ethnicity
EFFECTS OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
IN THE BABY
Gestational diabetes affects the baby late in the pregnancy when the baby is growing. Complications in the baby may include:
- Large “fat” baby
- Pre-term birth
- Low blood/glucose levels at birth
- Breathing problems
- Risk of obesity & type 2 diabetes later in life
IN THE MOTHER
Gestational diabetes can result in a few problems with the mother. These complications may include:
- Increase chance of cesarean section
- Longer recovery time
- High blood/glucose levels
- High blood pressure
- Future risk of type 2 diabetes
Most women that develop gestational diabetes have a normal pregnancy and birth. However, the risks are real. With a little effort and focus on exercise and proper nutrition, the complications are minimized.
AFTER THE BIRTH
With gestational diabetes, blood sugar levels usually return to normal for the mother after delivery but the risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes is substantially higher.
If you have had gestational diabetes, it is important that you continue to work with your Rosemark healthcare provider to monitor and manage your blood sugar levels.