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Gestational Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Gestational Diabetes?|Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes|Causes of Gestational Diabetes|Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes|Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes|Treatment of Gestational Diabetes|Lifestyle Changes for Gestational Diabetes|Home Remedies for Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition which affects the mother during pregnancy and is usually cured after she gives birth to the baby. It can occur at any phase of the pregnancy, yet is increasingly common in the second or third trimester. It happens when your body can’t create enough insulin – a hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels – to meet your additional requirements during pregnancy. It can affect you and your baby. The harm can be reduced with early detection and proper treatment.

There are two types of gestational diabetes:

1) Class A1

2) Class A2

Class A1 gestational diabetes does not require any treatment. It can be controlled with the help of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

In class A2 gestational diabetes, your doctor may prescribe you oral medication and insulin, in addition to healthy food and exercise.

Read More : Diabetes Insipidus: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

It does not have any specific signs and symptoms. In most cases, it is only revealed during routine blood sugar levels done as part of prenatal care.

If your test results indicate you have gestational diabetes, your doctor may prescribe you frequent blood tests and checkups.

If your blood sugar levels are too high, you may have the below-mentioned symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Excess thirst
  • Excess urination
  • Dry mouth

These symptoms don’t always indicate gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes usually resolves on its own after the baby is born. It is advised to regularly monitor your blood and take the necessary steps to ensure your blood sugar levels come to normal post-delivery.

Read More : Diabetes Mellitus Type 1: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Causes of Gestational Diabetes

When you consume your food, your pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that helps to transfer a sugar called glucose from your blood to your cells, which use it for vitality. During pregnancy, your placenta makes hormones that cause glucose to develop in your blood. In most cases, your pancreas can produce insulin to deal with it. In some cases, if your body can’t make enough insulin or quits utilising insulin like it should, your glucose levels increase and you develop gestational diabetes.

Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes

You are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes if:

  • You or your husband have diabetes
  • You had gestational diabetes during your pregnancy before this
  • You have body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have given birth to a baby above 4.5 kg of weight previously
  • You have given birth to a baby who was stillborn or had any disabilities previously
  • You have conceived in your mid-30s or early 40s
  • You are overweight

If you are overweight and planning pregnancy, it is advised to lose the extra weight to prevent gestational diabetes.

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes

If yours is a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may test your blood sugar levels at your first prenatal visit. You are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes if you have a BMI of 30 or above, or if someone in your family has diabetes.

If you are not at the risk of gestational diabetes, your doctor may ask you to do the test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

The diagnosis is done with the help of two steps:

1) Glucose challenge test

You may be asked to drink a glucose-saturated solution. After an hour of consuming the drink, your doctor may conduct a blood test to check your blood sugar levels. If your blood test reports indicate a blood sugar level above 140 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL), you are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. To know if you have the condition, you may be further asked to do a glucose tolerance test.

The normal range of blood sugar levels varies depending on a number of factors.

2) Glucose tolerance test

This test requires overnight fasting and is done early in the morning.

For the test, you will be asked to drink a highly concentrated glucose solution.

Your blood sugar level will be monitored every hour for three times.

If among the three tests, two of the tests indicate high blood sugar levels it means you have gestational diabetes.

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important to monitor and control your blood sugar levels so that it does not harm you and your baby. You will be asked to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood sugar levels every few hours. If changes in your lifestyle do not have an impact on your blood sugar levels, your doctor may prescribe you medicines and, in some cases, insulin injections.

Make sure you eat healthy food and exercise regularly.

Your doctor may even ask you to conduct a urine test to monitor if your diabetes is under control.

Lifestyle Changes for Gestational Diabetes

Monitor your blood sugar level

It is important to keep track of your blood sugar levels. You may need to monitor your blood sugar levels every few hours. The test needs to be done at regular intervals including before and after every meal.

To keep your blood sugar level in control, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Make sure you control your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. In some cases, if the blood sugar levels are not properly maintained, it could lead to type 2 diabetes post-delivery.

Eat healthy

Eat foods that are power-packed with nutrition and fibre and have low levels of fats and calories. Eating healthy food is important to control blood sugar levels and avoid gaining a lot of weight. You can even seek the help of a dietitian to create a customised meal plan for you.

Exercise regularly

Exercise on a regular basis to avoid low blood sugar levels. Exercising regularly during pregnancy helps to get rid of other complications during pregnancy including swelling, insomnia, constipation, back pain, and muscle pains.

Home Remedies for Gestational Diabetes

It is important for pregnant women to consume healthy food every few hours. Avoid the consumption of processed foods. Instead, choose healthy food options like eggs, fruits, yoghurt, steamed vegetables, and baked fish.

Include food rich in carbohydrates to prevent the rise of blood sugar levels. Foods packed with carbohydrates include starchy vegetables, lentils, beans, whole grains, and brown rice.

Include protein-rich food options such as poultry and fish in every meal.

Avoid consumption of the following foods:

  • White bread
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sugary beverages
  • Fast food
  • Processed food
  • Chocolates

Things to remember:

  • Avoid overeating
  • Avoid consuming processed foods
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

Gestational diabetes is a very commonly observed condition and can be easily tackled with the help of diet, exercise, and some medication. Your aim as a new mother should be to have a healthy pregnancy and hence controlling your diet, mental relaxation, and maintaining a healthy weight is a must.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Gestational diabetes/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355339/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Gestational diabetes/https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gestational-diabetes/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Gestational Diabetes/https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/gestational-diabetes#1/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy/https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/diabetes-gestational.html/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Gestational Diabetes/https://www.healthline.com/health/gestational-diabetes/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Gestational diabetes and a healthy baby? Yes/https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/gestational-diabetes/Accessed on 11/02/2020

Diabetes and Pregnancy/https://medlineplus.gov/diabetesandpregnancy.html/Accessed on 11/02/2020

 

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Written by Nikita Updated 02/09/2021
Fact Checked by Hello Swasthya Medical Panel