Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy
Guide to Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes During Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes (excessive blood glucose) that occurs in some women during the later part of their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects about 4 percent of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases of are diagnosed in the United States each year - and is more prevalent among very overweight or obese women, and among women with a family history of diabetes. While this type of diabetes usually disappears after the baby is born, the patient has a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
How is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?
There is no clear consensus on what precise level of blood glucose is required to diagnose a case of gestational diabetes. This is because glucose levels naturally rise and fall during pregnancy. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes is based upon the results of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), usually administered when the patient is between 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, although it may be performed earlier for women who have a higher than normal risk for diabetes.
Who is at Risk of Gestational Diabetes?
Women aged 30 years and over.
What are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes?
Medical experts are unsure what causes gestational diabetes. At present, attention centers on hormonal problems. During pregnancy, the placenta secretes hormones that help the baby to grow and develop. However, these hormones may block the action of the mothers insulin, causing a condition known as insulin resistance which means the mother's insulin cannot be properly utilized to regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood to high levels (hyperglycemia).
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Mother and Baby?
As blood sugar crosses the placenta, the baby is exposed to the mom's high glucose level. This excessive level of glucose causes the babys pancreas to produce extra insulin, which in turn leads the baby to absorb more energy than it needs to grow and develop. This energy surplus can lead to macrosomia, or a "fat" baby. Babies with macrosomia incur specific health problems, such as damage to their shoulders during birth, and post-natal breathing problems. Also, such babies have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
What is the Treatment For Gestational Diabetes?
Treating gestational diabetes typically involves four elements:
1. Maintain Healthy Blood Glucose Levels
Some gestational diabetics require drug treatment or insulin injections to control blood sugar levels. Most patients are able to discontinue this treatment after having their baby.
2. Healthy Eating
Women with gestational diabetes are advised to:
Eat little and often.
Note: Advice From American Diabetes Association
3. Physical Exercise
Taking regular healthy exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity, combats high glucose levels, assists weight control and prepares you for the birth of your baby. For a suitable exercise routine, check with your physician.
4. Weight Management
While not a direct cause of gestational diabetes, obesity or severe overweight is strongly associated with the incidence of type 2 diabetes as well as other metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, if you have gestational diabetes, it's important to limit weight gain during pregnancy by maintaining the proper level of calorie intake and expenditure. A nutrient dense GI Diet is probably the best diet plan. For specific advice, check with your doctor.
Hormone to Lower
Carbs and Glycemic
Glycemic Index (GI)
Carbs-Information.com provides general information about the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), low GI diets, GI values for all food groups, health problems of high blood glucose including metabolic disorders such as pre-diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.