Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which is seen in pregnant women who have increased blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Studies suggest that the prevalence of gestational diabetes can be as high as 9.2%.Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes isn’t permanent. Once the baby is born, the blood sugar will return to normal levels most of the times.
Gestational diabetes is seen affecting mothers in the late pregnancy, ie after the baby’s body has been formed. Therefore it does not cause any birth defects, however, may interfere with the normal growth pattern of babies.
Effect on the baby
- If your blood glucose levels are high your baby will also have high blood glucose.
- Baby’s pancreas will have to make extra insulin to control high blood glucose.
- The extra glucose in baby’s blood is stored as fat if untreated or uncontrolled.
- Baby born larger than normally called macrosomia, which can lead to difficult delivery.
- Can have breathing problems called respiratory distress syndrome.
- More likely for baby as it grows to become overweight and develop type 2 diabetes.
Effect on the woman
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria)
- Polyhydramnios (excessive accumulation of amniotic fluid )
- Maternal birth trauma
- Higher chances for C-Section
- Developing Type 2 Diabetes
- Reoccurrence in next pregnancy
Who is at a risk of Developing Gestational Diabetes?
About 5 to 18 percent of all pregnant women are likely to get gestational diabetes during pregnancy. The following factors may predispose you to gestational diabetes:
- Age of 25 or older
- Family history of Diabetes
- Overweight as suggested by the Body mass index
- Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Have a medical condition that makes diabetes more likely such as Glucose intolerance
- Have had Gestational diabetes before
- Certain ethnic subgroups such as African American, Native American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
Prevention of Gestational Diabetes
Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t get Gestational diabetes. However, there are some things you may do to reduce the risk of developing it:
- Eat a balanced diet: chose food high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Control on portion sizes
- Regular exercise: Try and exercise for 30 minutes daily with some moderate form of exercises such as swimming or a brisk walk
- Lose excess weight before pregnancy: If you are planning a baby, losing a few extra kilos may help you have a healthier pregnancy. Doctors do not recommend losing weight during pregnancy so plan the weight loss before you conceive.