Gestational Diabetes is a condition that occurs in pregnant women, usually around the 24th week of pregnancy. This diagnosis does not mean you had diabetes before pregnancy, or that you will after, but it is something that needs to be treated to ensure that both the mother and baby remain healthy. Knowing the best way to approach this condition can help to ensure a smooth pregnancy, even if you get a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Basics
Gestational diabetes does not typically exhibit any noteworthy symptoms, especially with everything else going on in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Rarely, a woman might notice increased thirst or going to the bathroom more often, but these can occur even without this condition! To get a diagnosis, testing must be done – and this kind of testing is standard procedure of any pregnancy.
Blood testing confirms a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Once diagnosed, it is important for a woman to follow proper care in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy. There is no need for panic as this condition is quite commonplace and many women give birth to healthy babies after having gestational diabetes.
Women diagnosed with this condition must be under a doctor’s supervision. If it is left untreated, the fetus will be affected by the persistently elevated blood glucose levels which can cause a number of complications. The fetus can be larger than normal, and suffer from hypoglycemia right after birth. It can increase the risk of jaundice, respiratory distress syndrome, and a higher chance of dying before or following birth. As far as long-term effects, the baby would eventually be at a greater risk of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes later in their life.
Caring for this condition involves regular monitoring by a physician. Proper diet and exercise are essential for the mother, and many times the condition can be controlled through this alone. If more care is needed, insulin therapy might be necessary. Regularly monitoring blood sugar will also be required, both by a doctor and at home.
Can Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented?
Gestational diabetes cannot always be prevented, but one of the most important things you can do is maintain a healthy weight and diet. Obesity is the number one risk factor for this condition.
The important thing is that you don’t panic if you get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The majority of women with it will go on to deliver healthy, happy babies. As with many diseases and conditions, treat your body right through diet, nutrition, and exercise, and your chances of developing this or any complications from it will be lowered.