What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition which occurs in pregnant women that do not typically have diabetes. It generally manifests around the 24th week of pregnancy because the human body is producing massive amounts of hormones to assist the fetus.
In some cases these hormones become insulin resistant, and in turn block insulin. Most females do not experience this problem during pregnancy. The good news is that if you have gestational diabetes, the chances that you will have a perfectly healthy newborn are high.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that contribute to gestational diabetes:
- Being 25 years of age or older.
- Being overweight.
- Having a family history of diabetes.
- Being of Hispanic, Native American, African American, or Asian decent.
- If you have given birth to a newborn over 9lbs.
These are some additional problems associated with gestational diabetes:
- Macrosomia: Essential this means, “large body.” If your blood sugar level is elevated, the excess will go to the baby. Now, the baby produces too much insulin that results in an abnormally large child.
- Hypoglycemia: Stands for low blood sugar. If the mother’s blood sugar is too high before labor, the baby may have low blood sugar at birth. This results in the baby needing to make additional insulin. Following delivery, the baby will no longer get additional glucose from the mother. Thus, the extra insulin created will cause a hypoglycemic state.
- Jaundice: Infants produce copious amounts of red blood cells to aid in growth before they are born. Following birth, the baby no longer needs them, and the begin to break down using a product called bilirubin. The liver metabolizes this. If the baby’s liver has problems in this process, the red blood cells and bilirubin stay in the blood strem. This causes yellow skin as excess levels rise.
- High Ketones: They are created when the human body burns stored fat for energy. Ketones which are exposed to the baby are dangerous. If you are pregnant, you should test your urine in the mornings.
- Preeclampsia: Referred to as toxemia. It encompasses high blood pressure, swelling of the lower extremities, and the leaking of protein into the urine. This condition can be accompanied by headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and blurred vision.
- Urinary Tract Infection: Caused when your blood sugar is high. UTI’s are notmally the result of bacteria which grow and proliferate better in high sugar environments.
There are five ways to treat gestational diabetes:
- Follow a dieting plan.
- Have an exercise program.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels.
- Check your urine for ketones.
- Take insulin if warranted.
Most gestational diabetes will subside following the birth of the child. However, you now become susceptible to diabetes mellitus in the future.