What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes or GDM is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Most of the time, GDM gets better on its own without any medications after pregnancy, but in some females, it may persist even after pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when a higher number of serum glucose levels are found in the routine antenatal screening.
Gestational diabetes mellitus affects thousands of women in Australia. According to an estimate, around twelve to fifteen percent of Australian women develop GDM between 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy. Therefore testing for GDM is a routine part of antenatal care between these weeks.
Risk of gestational DM:
Although gestational diabetes can occur in anyone some females have a greater tendency to develop GDM. These include:
– Age more than 40 years or over
– Type 2 diabetes mellitus family history
– Having a first-degree relative (mother or sister) who suffered from gestational diabetes
– above the healthy weight range
– Have had abnormal blood glucose levels in the past
– being from Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
– History of gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies
– History of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
– Have previously given birth to an overweight baby
– Are taking some types of steroid medications
– Gaining weight too rapidly in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus is done by an oral glucose tolerance test or OGTT usually performed at the 24-28th week of pregnancy.
Cause of gestational diabetes mellitus:
In pregnancy, certain hormones released by the placenta cause insulin resistance in the mother’s body. These hormones cause maternal insulin output to increase to 2-3 folds. If your insulin is already at the maximum output due to the risk factors described above, your body won’t be able to cope with the extra demand and it will lead to hyperglycemia in the body.
Management of gestational diabetes mellitus:
The first line of treatment for gestational diabetes mellitus is a healthy diet and proper exercise. If this is not helping, your doctor might add metformin or even insulin to normalize blood glucose levels.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 1300 464 464.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.