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Gestational Diabetes: What Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.


Gestational Diabetes: What Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.

By gestational diabetes, we mean high blood glucose that develops during pregnancy. It usually disappears after giving birth. Diabetic pregnant women are at increased risk of developing other complications during pregnancy such as preeclampsia and may also need early delivery by cesarean section.

Gestational diabetes can also cause health problems for babies, who may be born large or grow poorly in the womb and then be overweight later in childhood.

What is gestational diabetes?

About 7 percent of pregnant women suffer from what is called pregnancy diabetes, which often appears starting in the fourth month of pregnancy.

It can cause complications for both the mother and baby, although careful management during pregnancy can keep these risks to a minimum.

Gestational diabetes develops when your body cannot produce enough insulin — a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels — to meet its needs during pregnancy. This means glucose builds up in your blood to high levels, which can affect the health of you and your baby.

Your body needs glucose to give you energy, but when glucose remains in your blood instead of moving into cells, it causes high blood sugar.

Usually, increased demand for insulin during pregnancy is met by a rise in insulin production. However, some women are unable to produce enough extra insulin to meet this demand and develop gestational diabetes as a result.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes can cause problems for the pregnant woman and her baby. It increases the risk of having a large baby, which may lead to injury during delivery. And it raises the risk that your baby will become overweight or obese in later childhood or develop type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that gestational diabetes can be treated, often with diet and exercise alone. Most women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Causes gestational diabetes

  • Pregnancy hormones can block insulin from doing its job
  • In pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to insulin resistance, preventing insulin from doing its job of moving glucose into the cells where it can be used as energy. Insulin resistance increases as pregnancy progresses and generally goes away after delivery.
  • When insulin resistance is combined with inadequate insulin production by the pancreas, blood glucose levels rise too high, resulting in gestational diabetes.

What are Gestational diabetes symptoms?

Gestational diabetes usually doesn't cause noticeable signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Increased thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Excess sugar in your urine.

Over time, untreated pregnancy diabetes can pose a risk to you and your baby. It raises the likelihood of C-section delivery, oversize baby, and preterm labor. It also increases the risk that your baby will develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth and jaundice, as well as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes later in life.

How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?

  • In most cases, gestational diabetes develops during the second half of pregnancy (from around 24 weeks). If you have gestational diabetes, your baby will have a higher risk of health problems.
  • However, if it's detected early and treated properly, there's no reason why you can't have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Diagnosing gestational diabetes - screening and testing

New research shows that the timing of diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes can influence the health of both mother and baby.

It usually affects women in the second half of their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes shares many similarities with type 2 diabetes. This means that the body does not produce enough insulin or the body does not use insulin effectively.

What you can do about gestational diabetes?

This episode also belies why gestational diabetes is such a concern. While pregnancy can be a beautiful and incredibly moving experience, it also comes with more than its fair share of potential complications. And when gestational diabetes is left untreated, the complications can easily grow in number and severity.

Complications during pregnancy and childbirth may occur due to gestational diabetes. These may include:

  • Preterm delivery can place your baby at risk for health problems
  • Large birth weight, which can mean a more difficult delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can be life-threatening for both you and your baby

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body's ability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is necessary for converting sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life. If you have gestational diabetes, you have high blood sugar during pregnancy. 

Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, but it increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

  • Being overweight before pregnancy.
  • Having had gestational diabetes before.
  • Having a family history of diabetes.
  • Having had an unexplained stillbirth.
  • Being older than 25 years of age.

How to maintain a healthy weight with gestational diabetes?

  • You can do plenty of things to help manage your blood sugar. Your doctor will likely prescribe medicine, but you can use these tips too:
  • Follow your meal plan and eat healthy foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Exercise regularly. You may have to get a note from your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Check your blood sugar levels regularly. This helps you see how well you're managing your diabetes. You'll know if your treatment plan needs to be adjusted.
  • If you don't have a meter at home, go to the drugstore or lab so you can check it.
  • Don't drink alcohol or smoke tobacco products. Alcohol interferes with diabetes medicines and makes it harder for you to manage your blood sugar levels. Smoking is bad for the health of both you and your baby.
  • Stress management and more relaxation will help you and your kid be as healthy as possible.

Gestational Diabetes Treatments

  • If you have gestational diabetes, by controlling your blood sugar you can reduce the risk of pregnancy problems, and in order to monitor the effectiveness of treatment, you should get a set of blood sugar monitors.
  • You will also be closely monitored during pregnancy and delivery to check for any possible complications.
  • If you suffer from gestational diabetes, it is preferable to give birth before week 41, and induction of labor or cesarean section is recommended if labor does not start naturally at this time.
  • Preterm labor can be a solution
  •  If there are concerns about the health of the mother or the health of the child
  •  If your blood sugar levels are not well controlled.
  • Like type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes develops when the liver, muscle, and fat cells do not respond well to insulin.
  • Not to be left untreated, pregnant women can be harmful - possibly fatal - to the woman and her baby, and both can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.
  • The bottom line of treatment for gestational diabetes is to control your blood sugar through lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) and, if necessary, medications.


The good news is that gestational diabetes often goes away after you give birth. The bad news is that, if you have it when you’re pregnant with your next baby, the risk for developing diabetes increases. Luckily, simple steps (like eating well and exercising) can help keep it under control when you’re expecting again.

Yes, you really can eat burgers, fries, and pizza! Moms with gestational diabetes must try to stay within the gestational goals for carbs from their diet—and balance this with a healthy amount of exercise. However, unlike with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, women who have gestational diabetes don’t have to avoid these types of foods while they are pregnant.

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