As the name suggests, gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. This condition usually develops after 20th week of pregnancy. Elevated blood sugar levels after meals in pregnancy are normal since the placenta produces many hormones that interfere with working of insulin. As the placenta grows, more and more insulin blocking hormones are produced causing the diabetes. It disappears after delivery for most of the women. Continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels during pregnancy, regular exercising and healthy diet can keep the disorder in check. |
For most of the women, no symptoms except for increased thirst and excessive urination are evident.
Risk factors: - Any pregnant woman can have gestational diabetes. However, this risk is greater for some women.
1.Age: - women who are older than 25 years are more likely to develop this disorder.
2.Race: - Women who belong to Black, Hispanic, Asian or American Indian races are more susceptible to this disorder. The reasons for this are not yet clear.
3.Obesity: - BMI of 30 or higher puts women to greater risk of suffering from this disease.
4.Family history: - Family history also plays a significant role in determining the onset of gestational diabetes.
5.Personal health history: - If a woman has delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds in previous delivery or if she had an unexplained stillbirth, chances of acquiring this disorder are substantial. In some cases, pre-diabetes is also a causal factor.
Complications that may affect unborn baby: - Most of the women who have this condition can successfully deliver healthy babies. However, regular monitoring is important to achieve this objective.
1.Premature birth: - A diabetic mother is more likely to go into labor before the fulfillment of pregnancy term. Sometimes it is recommended by doctors since the baby is growing so large.
2.Respiratory distress syndrome:- if babies are born early, their lungs are not well developed. They may have breathing difficulties and need help with respiration.
3.Excessive birth weight:-Extra glucose in the bloodstream crosses placenta. It triggers baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin. As a result, a condition known as macrosomia may occur in which a baby grows too large to be delivered normally. C-section is required in such cases, else the baby can get stuck in birth canal or have birth injuries.
4.Hypoglycemia:- Since babies born to diabetic mothers have excess insulin in their bloodstream, they may develop low blood sugar soon after the delivery. If this condition continues, it may lead to seizures in the baby. Regular feeding and intravenous glucose supply is needed to restore the sugar balance.
5.Jaundice: - Gestational diabetes may trigger jaundice in new born babies.
Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of hypertension during pregnancy. If untreated, it can cause death of the child just after the birth. It may cause excessive fluid retention in the body and discharge of excessive proteins from urine. If untreated, preeclampsia can worsen into eclampsia which may cause convulsions, coma and ultimately death. These symptoms can harm both the mother and child. Women developing this disorder are more likely to have type-2 diabetes in future.
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