Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy. Like the other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the body’s ability to break down sugar (glucose) into energy for the cells — causing a buildup of sugar in the blood stream. The result is high blood sugar levels that may affect the health of both baby and mother. Following pregnancy, blood sugar levels tend to return to normal. However, women who experience gestational diabetes are at increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
What are the symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?
There are rarely noticeable symptoms felt in women with gestational diabetes. It is best to evaluate your risks towards gestational diabetes before pregnancy or early into the pregnancy to avoid any risks. Gestational diabetes usually develops during the last half of the pregnancy. If you develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, you may require more frequent check-ups with your Obstetrician. Fakih Medical Center’s is equipped with experienced Obstetricians, Internists and Endocrinologists to monitor you during your pregnancy and ensure the health of both you and your baby.
What are the causes of Gestational Diabetes?
The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not known. However, understanding how pregnancy effect’s the body’s normal processing of sugar (glucose) helps in understanding how gestational diabetes occurs.
During digestion of carbohydrates, not just of sweet foods, sugar enters the bloodstream and, with the help of Insulin, is broken down and absorbed by the body’s cells to provide them with energy. Insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas. During this process, Insulin helps reduce the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. During pregnancy, the placenta connecting the growing baby to the mother’s blood produces high levels of various hormones. Many of these hormones impair the ability of insulin to break down sugars in the mother’s body, raising the mother’s blood sugar. In cases of gestational diabetes, the rise in blood sugar reaches a level that can affect the growth and health of the baby.
What are risk factors associated with Gestational Diabetes?
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes, however some women are at heightened risk. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Age: Women over the age of 25 are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
- Family/Personal History: The risk of gestational diabetes is higher for women who have prediabetes or who have family members that have Type Diabetes 2. Those who have previously had gestational diabetes or who previously had an unexplained stillborn are also at increased risk for the condition.
- Weight: Significant excess weight is a precursor for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can be harmful to the health of both the mother and growing baby. If you are concerned of your risk towards gestational diabetes or if you would like to be evaluated by Fakih IVF Fertility Center’s team of Obstetricians, Internists and dietitians, book an appointment now. The good news is that expectant mothers can be in control of their risk towards gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, staying active, and if necessary, using medication.
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is also of great concern with gestational diabetes prevention and/or management. The dietitian at Fakih IVF Center will assist you build a nutritious diet with sufficient nutrients for your baby and to match each of your trimesters as well as better prepare you for lactation.