Take a look at the important things you need to know about gestational diabetes
According to the CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), more than 50% of women in US gain too much weight during pregnancies. This increased weight contributes to the rising risk of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is developed usually in the 24th week of pregnancy. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean that you had diabetes before or you will have diabetes after giving birth. It just means that the doctor and you yourself will have to monitor your blood sugar levels during the pregnancy.
Take a look at some facts that you must know and remember about gestational diabetes if you are pregnant or have someone in your family who is going to welcome a new life soon.
1 10% of pregnancies affected each year
Gestational diabetes happens to at least 10% of pregnancies each year. According to Dr. Stephen Thung, M.D., Specialist of maternal fetal medicine in the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, normal changes that occur during pregnancy may predispose women to suffer from gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy, placenta produces an increased number of a variety of hormones. These hormones severely affect the body’s ability to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar. According to Dr. Thung, as the pregnancy of a woman progresses, the insulin produced to balance out her blood sugar gets weaker. Though for most women, this doesn’t develop into any kind of issue, as their bodies are capable of producing more and more insulin to compensate. But for some women, this situation can lead to insulin resistance, a point where the body is not able to produce enough to overpower the insulin-blocking hormones.
2 Symptoms aren’t easily noticeable
During the gestational period, thanks to all the things that happen in the body, the symptoms of diabetes tend to go unnoticed. One needs to seek expert healthcare in order to detect and treat gestational diabetes.
It is more possible for you to develop gestational diabetes if you are over 25 and have a history of diabetes in your family. “Most of these risk factors suggest a pre-existing insulin resistance that likely worsens during pregnancy,” says Thung.
3 Third Trimester is the riskiest one
Gestational diabetes usually raises its head in the third trimester. This is due to the insulin blocking hormones reaching their peak levels which cause maximum insulin resistance. This makes it imperative for pregnant ladies to get tested for diabetes at around 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Also in some cases, patient may also have presentational diabetes that was not recognized until the patient got pregnant. So some physicians might also test the patients for risk factors in early stages of pregnancy.
4 More belly fat, higher the risk
A study published in the journal Diabetes Care stated that women who have high level of abdominal fat in their first trimester are at a higher risk of diabetes. The study was conducted with the participation of 500 women, aged from 18-42 years. They were given ultrasounds to check their abdominal fat at 11-14 weeks of pregnancy.
In the subsequent results, it was found that ladies who had more abdominal fat were more likely to develop diabetes at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.
5 Can harm the baby, if not treated
If the diabetes is ignored or left untreated, it could affect the baby as it could even have high level of glucose. This means the baby’s pancreas will have to work overtime in order to create insulin and control the glucose. This excess glucose is then stored as fat in baby’s body.
The complications of this scenario are very dangerous. It could mean that the baby might have a larger body, which could mean a difficult delivery. Or it could also mean that the baby could have hypoglycemia, respiratory problems and even high chances of dying just after or during birth.
Even if the baby survives everything, it could grow up to become overweight and develop type-2 diabetes.
6 Eat healthy before and during early part of pregnancy
Though there are no surefire guarantees that gestational diabetes can be prevented, but having healthier habits can be a way to have a better preparation against it. You should eat healthier, exercise; lose weight in order to reduce the risk of getting gestational diabetes.
But once you get pregnant, it will be up to your doctor to diagnose and decide on the proper steps to be taken to keep gestational diabetes from doing any long term harm to you and your baby.
7 Goes away after giving birth
Dr. Thung says that after delivery, insulin resistance in women returns to normal, and the vast majority of women don’t continue to be diabetic.
Though there is a huge chance that women who had gestational diabetes during the pregnancy, may develop diabetes later in life. Patients should be tested after their six-week postpartum period is over. They should be checked in order to test their level of blood glucose. They should be screened for diabetes every three to five years.
The way your health shapes, mostly remains in your own hands! Having a healthy way of living will ensure that you steer clear of most diseases and live a happy life.