Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar in a woman's blood increases during pregnancy. This happens in about 4% of pregnancies. It is usually diagnosed in the later stages of pregnancy and often occurs in women who do not have pre-diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is caused by hormonal and other changes during pregnancy. Our body converts food into energy with the help of insulin. When insulin levels are low, or the body is unable to use insulin effectively (i.e., insulin resistance), blood glucose levels rise.

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Gestational diabetes should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible as it can lead to complications for both the mother and the baby. This increases the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, and the need for surgery.

This can be avoided by keeping the weight under control and exercising regularly before pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can be treated with a proper diet. Regular exercise can contribute to controlling glucose.

Today in this article you will know in detail about gestational diabetes -

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  1. Normal blood sugar level in pregnancy
  2. Symptoms and diagnosis of gestational diabetes
  3. Causes of gestational diabetes
  4. Treatment for gestational diabetes
  5. Complications of gestational diabetes to Mother and Baby
  6. Takeaway
Doctors for Gestational Diabetes - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Its different ranges are seen by measuring blood sugar twice on an empty stomach and after eating. In both situations, it is necessary to have blood sugar in the normal range. What should be the amount of blood sugar in pregnancy is explained below.

  • Empty stomach - 60-90 mg/dL
  • Before meals - 60-105 mg/dL
  • 1 hour after eating - 130-140 mg/dL
  • 2 hours after a meal - less than 120 mg/dL
  • 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. - 60-90 mg/dL

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Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes - Gestational diabetes usually does not cause any symptoms or signs. This is why getting a screening test is so important. Sometimes symptoms like excessive thirst or frequent urination can be a sign.

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes - Gestational diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test. Most pregnant women are tested between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. But if you are at risk of developing it, your doctor will test you for it early in your pregnancy.

This can be confirmed by a blood test. In the screening test, you are given a sweet drink. This is done because it helps to test the level of glucose in your blood after one hour. If the screening test doesn't come back normal, you may need to have additional tests. Another test for this is usually the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). For this test, your baseline blood sugar level is measured and then measured 1, 2, and sometimes three hours later.

Glycosylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin A1c is also a type of test. This test is used to check the blood sugar level for a long time in diabetic patients. The hemoglobin A1C level is also an average measure of blood glucose levels over the past few months.

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Gestational diabetes is caused by several changes such as hormonal or other changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, making women resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by specialized cells in the pancreas that helps the body to effectively metabolize glucose which is then used as energy. When insulin levels are low or the body cannot use insulin properly (insulin resistance), the level of glucose in the blood rises.

Some degree of insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance is normal in late pregnancy. This is enough to cause gestational diabetes in some women. Factors that increase the risk of gestational diabetes are -

  • Obesity.
  • Suffering from gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • Having a large birth weight baby (more than 4 kg) in a previous pregnancy.
  • Suffering from Type 2 diabetes in a parent or sibling.
  • Suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Suffering from pre-diabetes.

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Getting proper treatment for gestational diabetes is important, as studies have shown that problems and complications are reduced when blood sugar levels are normal. Gestational diabetes is treated by maintaining proper dietary habits. Regular exercise also helps with glucose control. Nutritional modification is the mainstay of treatment and many women have been helped with adequate glucose control by following a balanced nutrition plan.

A home blood glucose test done after a meal can determine whether your glucose levels are normal or not. This test should be done at least four times per day. You may also be asked to have a urine test to check the number of ketones in your urine (a substance produced when the body digests fat). Ketones are more effective when the body is unable to use glucose as energy.

If diet and exercise are not enough to control blood sugar levels, insulin therapy may be a better option. US Insulin is the only officially approved treatment for gestational diabetes in the United States. However, in some patients, doctors treat only by using medicines to control blood sugar.

As the pregnancy progresses, the insulin requirement may change and may need to be supplied by insulin supplements.

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Sugar can cause the following types of damage to a pregnant woman and the baby to be born -

Complications of gestational diabetes for baby

Women with gestational diabetes usually give birth to healthy babies if treated appropriately. However, if the mother has persistently elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy, the fetus will also have elevated levels. High levels of glucose in the blood can cause the fetus to be larger than normal, potentially complicating the delivery process. There is also a risk of hypoglycemia in the baby soon after birth. Undiagnosed gestational diabetes increases the risk of jaundice and respiratory problems such as respiratory distress syndrome in newborns. There is also an increased risk of the baby dying before or after birth, as well as higher birth weight and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Complications of gestational diabetes for the mother

  • Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to deliver by cesarean delivery (C-section), due to the larger size of the baby.
  • Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of pre-eclampsia (preeclampsia). In this condition, the pregnant mother starts having problems like high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
  • Women with diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.
  • If there is diabetes in early pregnancy, these women have a higher risk of birth defects and miscarriage than those who do not have diabetes.

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During pregnancy, a woman should take special care of herself. A little carelessness during this time can be heavy on the mother and the baby to be born. Therefore, a pregnant woman should get her checkup done from time to time. Along with this, in the case of gestational diabetes, proper treatment should be done on the advice of the doctor.

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