Gestational Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
While you are expecting your body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes. A women’s body metabolism tremendously alters in pregnancy.These changes can result their levels of blood sugar to surge temporarily. If certain levels are surpassed, the expecting woman is considered to have gestational diabetes. The result is, a woman who has never had a history of diabetes before getting pregnant, can develop high blood glucose levels. But you are closely at risk in case you are obese or over-weight, have a history of having relatives with diabetes, and have had diabetes in an earlier pregnancy.
What is gestational diabetes?
It’s when the level of blood glucose (blood sugar) in the body of the expecting mother stays high (hyperglycaemia) owing to the fact that she is incapable of making and using all the insulin required to upkeep the pregnancy demands. Roughly about eighteen per cent of the women may experience gestational diabetes while pregnant but only about seven per cent of those pregnancies might face complications. Having higher blood glucose level or glucose intolerance, while expecting can raise worries not only for the mother but also has an ability to cause long-standing difficulties for the baby—if not received timely treatment. Fortunately, medical experts are always attentive about keeping a check on gestational diabetes so that it is identified and efficiently taken care of early. If you are pregnant and have fallen prey to gestational diabetes, sticking to your treatment plan will definitely facilitate you in having a good and healthy pregnancy and will safeguard the health of your baby. It's significant to note that having gestational diabetes increases a woman's risk 7-fold for contracting type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Causes and Risk Factors
Gestational diabetes typically occurs when your body is unable of producing sufficient amount of the hormone insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is essential to carry blood glucose into the cells. Without adequate insulin, you can build up excess of glucose in your blood, resulting in a higher-than-normal level of blood glucose thus resulting in gestational diabetes.
The high blood glucose level is produced by hormones that are released by the placenta during gestation. The placenta generates a hormone called the human placental lactogen (HPL), which is also known as human chorionic somatomammotropin (HCS). It’s very alike to growth hormone but it essentially changes the mommy’s metabolism and the way she processes lipids and carbohydrates. HPL actually advances the level of maternal blood glucose and is known to make a woman's body less sensitive to insulin—less ability to make use of it properly. If the body fails to make use of insulin as it should be doing, then the blood glucose levels will augment. The HPL hormone intensifies the levels of blood glucose enabling the baby to receive the essential nourishments it requires from the additional glucose present in the blood. Post fifteen weeks, another hormone—human placental growth hormone—also upsurges and results in the rise of the levels of maternal blood glucose. This hormone plays an important role in aiding to control the mother’s blood glucose level just to be sure that the baby is getting the right amount of desirable nutrients.
It is completely ok for women’s blood glucose levels to shoot a little but up while she is expecting, however at times these levels go up and continue to stay elevated. In case this happens, it is likely that your gestational diabetes is allied with an enlarged peril of developing type 2 diabetes in the baby.
How Gestational Diabetes Can Affect Your Baby’s health
If gestational diabetes goes untreated and your levels of sugar still continue to remain high, it may lead to snags like a large baby, problems of miscarriage and stillbirth. A baby who is large in size can create the danger of wound during the time of delivery, increases possibility of caesarean delivery, likelihood of forceps delivery and a need for the baby to be monitored in special care till the time the level of glucose becomes stable post-delivery. Other difficulties may include pregnancy loss and a higher risk of premature delivery.
How can one prevent gestational diabetes?
Effectively treating diabetes during pregnancy comes down to one important factor: monitoring your blood sugar. The aim is to upkeep your blood glucose level so that it does not go too high and even does not stay high. This can be achieved by consuming a healthy diet, remaining physically active at all times, and if required taking the suggested medicines to facilitate in keeping your sugar levels in your targeted range.
Consumption of foods wisely: To-be mothers should consume small quantities of food which will help in maintaining a healthy weight. One diet must include carbohydrate, you must consume edibles like potatoes, lentils, chickpeas, beans and multi-grain bread to name a few. While you are pregnant you must choose edibles that are diverse and provide your body all the essential nutrients required during pregnancy. You must eat foods which are rich in calcium like cheese and milk, edibles rich in iron content like chicken and fish are a must for pregnant women. You must not miss out on consuming foods that are high in fibre and rich in folic acid like Dark green leafy vegetables. Avert foods and drinks that contain large amounts of sugar. You must try and curb your amount of fat intake predominantly saturated fat. Instead you must consume healthy fats olive and polyunsaturated oils and margarines instead of butter and avocados. Include small serves of proteins to your everyday diet is extremely beneficial for the growth of the baby and also for maintaining the health of the mother.
Indulge in exercising and physical activity: When you are active your body makes use of more glucose, hence working or even simple walking can facilitate you to lower your levels of blood glucose in the body. Also when you are active, your body will not require as much insulin to that is needed to carry the glucose; your body will become less resistant to insulin. Because your body is not making proper use of insulin when you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a lower resistance to insulin is an exceptionally good thing. Being physically active will also aid in controlling weight throughout your pregnancy, uphold a healthy heart, will refine your sleeping patterns and will also help in condensing stress and anxiety
Medications/Insulin: Most mothers-to-be are able to regulate blood glucose levels just through making a couple of adjustments and alterations in their diet and exercise regimes. Nevertheless, if you need a little additional assistance, your doctor might recommend insulin or another medication to support your body in monitoring your blood glucose level. These medical treatments will not have any harmful effect on your growing baby. The most significant aim is to keep your blood sugar within the targeted range to give you and your baby the best health even in the long-term. Along with following these instructions, you must also continuously monitor your blood glucose level.
The good news is that gestational diabetes typically goes away after you deliver. Your medical health expert will check your levels of blood sugar six to twelve weeks post-delivery to ensure your levels are back to normal. But in case your levels have still not come to normalcy, then chances are you may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. An important point to bear in mind is that even in case your blood sugar is back to normal post the arrival of your little one, gestational diabetes still has an ability to put you at an increased danger for developing type 2 diabetes much later on in life. It is best to get yourself examined every three years to make sure your blood glucose levels are absolutely normal.
Dr. Anagha Karkhanis is a Senior Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist and Director of Cocoon Fertility