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What Is Gestational Diabetes?

  By posted Nov 28th 2012
Healthy Living

 

What is Gestational Diabetes


Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that comes on during pregnancy. It is often diagnosed on screening tests done between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. According to the American Diabetes Association gestational diabetes affects 4% of all pregnant women. While doctors aren't sure what causes gestational diabetes, it is believed that hormones from the placenta may block the action of insulin in the mother, leading to abnormally high levels of sugar in your blood.

Causes of Gestational Diabetes: 
In gestational diabetes the pregnant mother needs more insulin and many times her pancreas cannot make enough to send the sugar in the blood.

Risk factors of Gestational Diabetes: 

  • Mother's age older than 25
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight mother
  • History of gestational diabetes


Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes: 
The symptoms are not that visible, it’s the doctor who finds gestational diabetes through glucose-screening test. Though experts point out a few signs...

  • Increased appetite
  • Constant urge to urinate
  • Weight loss despite the upped appetite

 

Is Gestational Diabetes dangerous for pregnancy or the baby?

It's important to keep your blood sugar levels in check because too much glucose will end up in your baby's blood. Delivery can sometimes result in a fractured bone or nerve damage, both of which heal without permanent problems in nearly 99 percent of babies.

Treatment & Remedies for Gestational Diabetes:


A well-planned diet
- A dietician can help design a meal plan that meets your calorie needs and controls blood sugar. Taking insulin will not affect the baby, according to the NIH.

Doctor-approved exercise - Studies revealed that moderate exercises improve mother’s  ability to process glucose, keeping blood sugar levels in check.  Aerobic activities, walking or swimming, every day will be beneficial for you.

Medication - About 15 percent of women with gestational diabetes need medication. Most patients start with oral medication now instead of injections.

Does gestational diabetes act as a catalyst for diabetes in the future?

Yes. About one-third to one-half of women who have gestational diabetes will have it again in a later pregnancy. And up to 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes will develop diabetes at some point in the future.

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

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