FAQs About Gestational Diabetes | Revere Health

Pregnancy comes with a list of potential complications and issues, but the good news is that many of these problems can be treated successfully if they are caught early and you are working with a qualified medical professional. One problem that many pregnant women face is gestational diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anywhere from two to ten percent of pregnant women in the United States have gestational diabetes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

As with other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes deals with the production of insulin, which is a hormone created by your pancreas that allows your body to access the blood sugar you need to increase energy. Women with gestational diabetes don’t produce enough insulin, but only when they are pregnant. They may have never had diabetic symptoms before, but the body and hormone levels change regularly during pregnancy.

Many women develop insulin resistance during these body changes, which means the cells are unable to use insulin as effectively as normal. This increases the need for insulin and can result in gestational diabetes.

What are the Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes?

The condition usually develops around the 24th week of pregnancy, and your doctor will likely screen you for potential problems around that time. This allows you and your baby to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. There are rarely any symptoms with gestational diabetes but there are risk factors, including:

  • Excess weight: those with a body mass index of 30 or higher and those who are overweight are at an increased risk
  • Personal health history: those who have prediabetes are also at increased risk
  • Family health history: those with a sibling or parent with type 2 diabetes are at risk
  • Previous pregnancies: if you have had a stillbirth, a previous baby over nine pounds or gestational diabetes during a former pregnancy, your risks are increased
  • Age: you are more likely to develop the condition if you are over 25 and pregnant
  • Race: although the research does not explain why, those who are Asian, American Indian, Hispanic or black are more likely to develop gestational diabetes

Can Gestational Diabetes be Treated Without Harming My Baby?

Prevention is the best treatment, and many women can be practice prevention before they become pregnant by getting regular physical activity or losing weight. If you are currently pregnant, you should not try to lose weight but you should stay within a healthy range determined by your doctor.

Gestational diabetes can be treated in many ways. You may be required to check your blood sugar regularly, eat the right foods at the right times, stay active and monitor the baby’s development and growth. If these things do not work to control the issue, you may also need to take certain medications.

If you don’t treat your diabetes, your baby may have excessive birth weight, low blood sugar, respiratory distress syndrome or preterm birth. Some babies go on to develop type 2 diabetes when they get older. Treating gestational diabetes is vital to protecting your baby and keeping you both healthy.

If you are pregnant, you should be seeing your doctor regularly to monitor your health and your baby’s. Contact your medical professional today to learn more about your risks for diabetes.

The staff at the Wellness Institute offers a variety of services including exercise and nutrition education. Our providers can help you increase productivity, improve general health and manage chronic conditions. We have a registered dietitian, physician and health education specialist on staff.

Sources:

“Gestational Diabetes.” Mayo Clinic.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355339

“Gestational Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association.

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/

“Gestational Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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