What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a different kind of diabetes that is found in pregnant women who have not had high blood glucose levels before the pregnancy. What is it really and how does it happen? Well, according to a 2014 analysis by the center for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of gestational diabetes is 9.2% high.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
There are no known causes for gestational diabetes, but there are clues to why pregnant women might get it. “The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother’s body to use insulin. She may need up to three times as much insulin.”
When the body is not able to make and use any of the insulin that it needs for pregnancy, this is when gestational diabetes will start. The glucose will build up in the blood without any insulin. This results in hyperglycemia.
Effects of Gestational Diabetes
This type of diabetes can affect a pregnant mother in late pregnancy. The baby can be affected when the body has formed and continues to grow. It affects the baby by the pancreas working overtime to produce the insulin, but the insulin does not work in lowering the blood glucose levels. The glucose and other nutrients will not end up crossing the placenta. The extra glucose will go through the placenta and give the baby high levels of blood glucose levels.
When the baby has high glucose levels, the baby’s pancreas makes extra insulin to decrease the amount of glucose. This gives the baby more energy than it needs and the extra energy is stored as fat. ‘Fat babies’ are called macrosomia. Having an overweight baby causes health problems and can damage babies’ shoulders during birth. When the child grows up, they are at risk for obesity, breathing problems, and type 2 diabetes.