Gestational diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that is first recognized during pregnancy. About 7% of all pregnant women in the U.S. are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially when they control their blood sugar, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and keep a healthy weight.
A glucose screening test is usually performed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, which involves drinking a glucose drink followed by measurement of glucose levels after a one-hour interval.
If this test shows an increased blood sugar level, another test will be performed after a few days of following a special diet. The second test also involves drinking a glucose drink, and results are measured at three-hour intervals.
As the pregnancy progresses, the mother’s energy needs increase. Coupled with this, the placenta produces hormones that help the baby grow and develop. These hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin. This is called insulin resistance. The pregnant woman needs extra insulin so the glucose can get from the blood into the cells where it is used for energy. From about 24 weeks, insulin needs in pregnancy can be two or three times higher than normally required. If the body is unable to meet this requirement, then diabetes develops. When the pregnancy is over and the insulin needs return to normal, the diabetes usually disappears.
Generally, gestational diabetes does not cause any symptoms. Subtle signs, such as fatigue or excessive thirst and urination, may sometimes occur, but many women without gestational diabetes also experience these changes late in pregnancy. Because the condition cannot be diagnosed on the basis of the mother’s symptoms, glucose testing must be done to detect it.
Cure and Treatment
The cure for gestational diabetes is the cessation of those hormones that block it. This only happens when the patient gives birth, which may be several weeks from the time it was detected. Women who are predisposed should be checked early for their levels of glucose, lest they be affected by gestational diabetes. If you are diagnosed to have gestational diabetes, you are advised to lower down your blood glucose levels by eating a healthy diet. This means that the carbohydrates that you eat should be limited to be able to maintain normal blood glucose levels. Exercise is also suggested as part of the daily routine to lower blood sugar although it is not recommended in high risk pregnancies. The glucose levels in the blood should be monitored at least three times a day, after every meal. For those taking insulin, they also have to test themselves before meals to be able to keep blood glucose levels normal.
A cure for Diabetes has not been found yet. However, it can be controlled. Ways to control diabetes are: maintaining blood glucose levels, blood fat levels and weight. Controlling diabetes is very important and should be supervised by a medical doctor. When diabetes is controlled, it will help prevent serious complications such as: infections, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage to feet and heart disease.