Most of the pregnant ladies with gestational diabetes don’t have any noticing signs or symptoms of this disease. That’s why every pregnant woman should make a screening for gestational diabetes in the period between the 24thand 28th week.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a specific type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. In this period, the hormones from the placenta block the insulin activity, a hormone secreted in the pancreas. The role of the insulin is to encourage the entry of glucose in the cells. Thus, blocking the insulin activity means there is no entry of glucose in the cells, which results in elevated glucose levels in the blood. As pregnancy progresses, the placenta produces more insulin-blocking hormones, and that leads to increased sugar levels in the mother’s blood, which can harm the growth and normal development of the baby. It is crucial to recognize and treat gestational diabetes at an early stage, so the consequences for the baby will be minimized.
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed with lab test – glucose challenge test, which is done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. However, the test can be done during the first pregnancy control if the woman has a higher risk of diabetes. If the test done in early pregnancy is positive, it means that you have type 2 diabetes since before getting pregnant. The test is done in 2 steps. First you drink a sugary solution (with 50gr.sugar). After one hour, your blood sugar level is measured, and the result will show is it possible for you to have gestational diabetes. If the results are above normal values, you should make further tests.
How common gestational diabetes is?
Gestational diabetes occurs in 10% of all pregnancies. After giving birth, this problem usually disappears in all women, and blood sugar levels normalize. However, if gestational diabetes appeared in one pregnancy, it is very much likely that it would appear in every other. Besides, studies show that from 20 to 50% of women who had gestational diabetes have a chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.
How gestational diabetes influences the baby?
If not treated, gestational diabetes can lead to serious health issues for the mother and the baby as well. There could be a larger quantity of the amniotic fluid during pregnancy, and that can result in premature birth. Those mothers diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of preeclampsia (formerly called toxemia). They are more prone to infections of the kidneys, bladder and uterus. There is also a higher risk of sudden intrauterine death of the fetus in the last months of pregnancy if you suffer from gestational diabetes. Higher glucose levels in the baby’s blood leads to increased fatty tissue i.e. increased weight of the baby-fetal macrosomia. Increased weight of the fetus can lead to difficult vaginal delivery, and in most cases a C-section is needed.
Best way of treatment
The most important thing is to diagnose it early and control it on time. The control is done by gynecologist and endocrinologist. The treatment always includes regular, balances and well planed diet, regular exercising and increased fluid intake. The diet should be consisted of proteins, complex carbohydrates and fats, while sweets and white pasta should be avoided. Proper diet is crucial when dealing with this disease. Usually, proper diet and regular exercising is the treatment for gestational diabetes, but if there are no results, then a drug treatment is prescribed by the endocrinologist.
-If the mother is over 30
-Family history of diabetes
-Gestational diabetes in the previous pregnancy
-Previously born over-weighted baby
Maintaining healthy body weight, balanced and regular diet rich in proteins, avoiding food full of sugars, regular physical activity are the key factors in preventing gestational diabetes. If you stick to these rules, you can lower the chance of getting gestational diabetes by 70%. !