Gestational diabetes

Even if you have never had any previous problems with high blood sugar or diabetes, there is a chance that when you are pregnant you could experience what is known as gestational diabetes. This is a condition that occurs when women who have previously not had any symptoms of diabetes, will experience rising levels of glucose in their bodies. While gestational diabetes is something that can have a large impact on a pregnancy, it is not that common as it only affects roughly four percent of the pregnant population. This equals out to a little fewer than one hundred and fifty thousand cases of reported gestational diabetes each year.

One of the most discouraging things about gestational diabetes is that doctors are not sure about what causes this problem. A part of the puzzle does come into view when one takes into account the placenta’s role in pregnancy. In fact, when you are pregnant the placenta produces hormones that are designed to help the baby’s development during pregnancy, however, sometimes something goes wrong and these same hormones can instead block a lot of the insulin production in the mother’s body, which results in gestational diabetes. The decrease in insulin means that the glucose that is in the blood cannot be successfully converted into energy by the body, which can cause the glucose to build up in the bloodstream in massive amounts.

Generally speaking, gestational diabetes affects pregnant women when they are in the last stages of their pregnancy. This means that it occurs after the baby has already been formed, but while it is still growing in the womb. It is a good thing in that this means gestational diabetes should not cause any of the problematic birth defects that are associated with those mothers who had diabetes before they got pregnant. While the fear of birth defects from gestational diabetes is small, there are still health problems that can be attributed to a child in this condition. The baby’s system will work to try and produce more insulin to get rid of the glucose that is flowing through the mother’s blood. In the end the baby’s body will then turn this extra “energy” into fat, which causes the birth weight of the baby to sometimes rise dramatically.

These overweight babies that are a result of gestational diabetes are then predisposed to having breathing problems after birth, as well as obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. This is why it is so important that you do what you can to make sure that you treat your gestational diabetes as soon as you can. When you get treatment for gestational diabetes it should be something that works to make sure that your blood glucose levels are as close to normal ranges as they can be. This can include everything from taking on specialized diets and intervals of physical activity, and in serious cases it can also include daily glucose monitoring and insulin injections. However, the exact options for your gestational diabetes treatment will be made by your doctor and will be closely supervised.

While gestational diabetes is just a temporary problem that should rectify itself after the pregnancy is over; however, in a very small percentage of cases the diabetes that occurs during pregnancy does so as a way of uncovering a previously existing condition for type 1 or 2 diabetes that the expectant mother was not aware that she had. If this is the case with your gestational diabetes your doctor will inform you immediately and you will be able to take preventative measures to help you get control of the situation well before there is a serious problem.


Last updated on Mar 24th, 2009 and filed under Diabetes Mellitus. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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