Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops in pregnancy in response to hormones and other factors released by the placenta which affect how body cells make use of sugar. Gestational diabetes may cause high blood sugar levels that over time may cause a number of complications, particularly with delivery and baby’s post delivery health.
Generally, the initial treatment involves a conservative approach including exercising and eating healthy. Managing gestational diabetes and by extension your blood sugar levels, you keep your baby healthy and can avoid a difficult birth.
While blood sugar levels will often return to normal after delivery if you have gestational diabetes, you have an increased risk of having type 2 diabetes. It is therefore important that you continue working with your doctor to help you keep tabs on and manage your blood sugar.
Gestational diabetes may lead to pregnancy problems like having a large baby if not properly managed. Having a large baby may increase the risk of having injury at delivery, forceps delivery or caesarean delivery. It may also require that the baby be looked after until the glucose level is stabilized after delivery in special care.
What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes will usually cause no evident or noticeable symptoms and most people living with the condition only know about it when they go through their routine pregnancy checkups or screening tests.
But in some rare cases, some symptoms may be observed especially is the gestational diabetes is already out of control. Some symptoms that may be noticed include the need to urinate often, feeling thirsty regularly and feeling more hungry and by extension eating more.
What causes gestational diabetes?
The placenta is responsible for making hormones that lead up to the development of glucose in the blood when you’re pregnant. The pancreas is often able to make enough insulin to handle the process but in cases where the pancreas cannot, the blood sugar levels will soar and may lead to gestational diabetes.
How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
It is most often diagnosed by the results of a fasting two hour glucose tolerance test at around 26 weeks of pregnancy. This test is sometimes done earlier in the pregnancy if there are specific risk factors for GDM.
How is GDM managed?
Management is usually multidisciplinary with the input of Diabetes Educators, Dietitians, Obstetricians and midwives and Endocrinologists.
If conservative management is unsuccessful in optimising blood sugar levels, sometimes oral medication or insulin is required.
You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.
This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.