Diabetes can set in due to many reasons and when it is the result of pregnancy it is called gestational diabetes. Knowing the complications like how does gestational diabetes affects the baby and what is gestational diabetes will save you from complications related to this type of diabetes that affects the baby and also pregnancy.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes or gestational diabetes mellitus is a health condition in which the sugar levels in the blood become elevated during pregnancy. Every year it affects about 10% of pregnant women in America alone.
Gestational diabetes is of two types- A1 & A2 while A1 can be controlled through exercise and diet A2 needs medicines and insulin.
Usually, both the types go away following the birth however, if neglected it can affect the baby besides increasing the chances of getting type 2 diabetes in the later stages of life.
Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
In many women, noticeable symptoms don’t appear or women can’t trace unless it is found through routine checkups. In general, women go through these symptoms.
- Thirstier than customary
- Hungrier and eating more than usual
- More peeing than usual
- Blurred vision
Causes Of Gestational Diabetes
The precise reason is not known however, hormones most likely are the cause. During pregnancy, the body secrets heavy amounts of hormones including hormones that augment insulin resistance and human placental lactogen (HPL).
These hormones influence the placenta and aid maintain the pregnancy. As time passes these hormones increase and may begin to make the body insulin resistant and when insulin resistance is too high blood sugar levels rise and lead to gestational diabetes.
Risk factors Of Gestational Diabetes
- African-American, Asian, Native American or Hispanic
- Blood sugar levels that are more than normal
- Family history with diabetes
- Presence of gestational diabetes before
- High blood pressure and other medical issues
- History of giving birth to an overweight baby (more than 9 pounds)
- Aged more than 25
- Birth to a baby with defects
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Lack of physical activity
When To Test Gestational Diabetes?
This test for gestational diabetes is between 24 & 28 weeks of pregnancy but the test could be carried earlier if a high amount of glucose is traced in routine urine tests during pregnancy. The test is done during the said period as chances of developing it are high during this period.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect The Baby?
It not only affects the mother but can also affect the baby if neglected. The baby may be at increased risk of being obese and developing type 2 diabetes in later stages of life. Other effects could be;
- Problems with heart
- Blood vessels
- Spine and brain
- Urinary system, and
- Digestive system.
Some other complications that a child may get include birth injury, preterm birth, shoulder dystocia, jaundice, and hypoglycemia.
Complications Of Gestational Diabetes
- Chances of being diabetic in the future.
- Having a C-section delivery (surgical delivery)
- Preeclampsia and high blood pressureMiscarriage
- Preterm birth
How To Diagnose Gestational Diabetes?
A doctor gives a glucose screening test or glucose challenge. In this test, sweet syrup or liquid is given to the drink to increase the blood sugar. After an hour blood test is done to see how the body managed the sugar. In case the test shows a higher sugar level than a certain point (normally 200 mg/Dl) then an oral glucose tolerance test may be needed. In this test blood sugar is tested with no food given and having a 3-hour glucose test.
The average gestational diabetes blood sugar level typically is below 95 mg/dl before meals or 140 mg/dl an hour after a meal or 120 mg/dl two hours after a meal.
How Gestational Diabetes Is Treated?
The treatment plan depends on blood sugar levels all through the day.
In majority cases, the doctor advises testing blood sugar before and after meals. Managing by exercising regularly and eating healthy is suggested.
In a few cases, insulin injections may also be suggested besides providing a glucose-monitoring device.
The treatment also depends on how your blood sugar levels are rising or falling.
Since now you know how does gestational diabetes affects the baby and also you, in particular, try to be careful and go for regular screenings.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.