Understanding Gestational Diabetes

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future, it is important to understand the signs and implications of gestational diabetes. Unlike standard type 2 diabetes, which has become a national epidemic impacting 29 million people in the United States, gestational diabetes tends to develop unexpectedly and resolve itself after childbirth. Despite its short-term nature, gestational diabetes poses significant threats to mother and baby alike, so it must be given the appropriate medical attention.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnancy changes the way that a woman’s body produces insulin. Since insulin regulates blood sugar, this sudden change in insulin production can cause diabetes to form. Signs include high sugar levels in urine, unusual thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea, and blurred vision.

Are You At Risk of Gestational Diabetes?

Of all pregnant women, only two to five percent develop gestational diabetes. However, among pregnant women who are over 35, overweight, or have a family history of diabetes, that number rises to seven to nine percent. Since the placenta produces large quantities of hormones that are known to cause insulin resistance, especially between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, it is possible that you will develop gestational diabetes despite being completely healthy before your pregnancy. With the right treatment, you can keep your baby safe and your diabetes will “undo” itself after childbirth.

Testing and Treatment

It is now a standard part of prenatal care to have a gestational diabetes test done between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. You will drink a very sweet liquid, wait one hour, and have your blood drawn to measure your blood sugar. The results of your blood test will indicate whether your body is producing enough insulin.

If your results confirm that you have gestational diabetes, you will need to begin taking measures to control your blood sugar levels. Strategies will include diet and exercise management, self-monitoring of your blood glucose levels, additional trips to the doctor, and possibly insulin therapy. These forms of treatment are essential because untreated gestational diabetes can lead to premature delivery, large birth weight, and other side effects.  

Find the Right OB-Gyn in Bradenton, Florida

Women’s Health and Wellness in Bradenton, Florida offers the highest quality gynecological care for pregnant women. Call (813) 571-2777 to schedule your prenatal care appointments and protect yourself from the threats of gestational diabetes.