Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy . About 7% of pregnancies will develop gestational diabetes, usually in the second half of pregnancy. Once your baby is born, it will almost always disappear. However, if gestational diabetes is not treated during pregnancy, you may experience some complications.
Pregnancy hormones cause the body to develop resistance to the action of insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps your body use the fuel provided by food.
The carbohydrates you eat provide your body with a kind of fuel called glucose, and the sugar in the blood can nourish your brain, heart, tissues and muscles. Glucose is also an important fuel for the developing baby. In gestational diabetes, insulin cannot effectively transfer glucose to the cells that need it. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood, causing blood sugar levels to rise.
The pregnancy was diagnosed . Your blood sugar level is measured after you drink a sweet drink. If your blood sugar is too high, you have gestational diabetes. Sometimes, only one test is needed to make a definite diagnosis. More commonly, a preliminary screening test is performed first, followed by a longer evaluation period.
Gestational diabetes usually does not occur until late pregnancy, when the placenta produces more hormones that interfere with the mother's insulin. Screening for gestational diabetes is usually done between the 24th and 28th weeks, but high-risk women may be screened in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Many risk factors are associated with gestational diabetes, including:
- Give birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Parents or siblings have diabetes
- Have had gestational diabetes in the past
- Glucose in urine
In addition, gestational diabetes is more common in African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and diabetes have family history of ethnic women.
Gestational diabetes and your baby
Gestational diabetes can affect your developing baby in several ways:
- High birth weight exposure to higher sugars from the mother’s blood can lead to larger babies and higher birth weights. The baby’s pancreas produces extra insulin in response to higher glucose, which causes the baby to store extra fat and become larger. A bigger baby will make the delivery of the mother and baby more complicated.
- Hypoglycemia If your blood sugar rises during pregnancy, your baby may have low blood sugar shortly after birth, called hypoglycemia. When your blood sugar rises, the extra insulin your baby produces will continue to lower your baby's blood sugar for a short time after you are born. If there is no continuous supply of sugar from the mother's blood, the baby's blood sugar level may drop too low.
However, this is temporary, and the nurses and doctors taking care of your newborn baby will carefully monitor your baby and treat any hypoglycemic episodes that may occur.
By controlling blood sugar during pregnancy, the complications of gestational diabetes can be prevented. The goal of treatment is to keep your blood sugar within the normal range. Most women with good blood sugar control give birth to healthy babies without any complications.
The first step in treating gestational diabetes is to adjust your diet to help keep blood sugar levels within a normal range. It is a good idea to meet with a registered dietitian to develop a customized diet plan to help you control your blood sugar. You can also read dietary recommendations for gestational diabetes.
Main dietary principles:
- Avoid high-sugar foods. During the rest of your pregnancy, avoid desserts, sweets, candies, biscuits, soft drinks and juices. You should eat fruit, but because fruit contains a lot of natural sugars, you can only eat a small portion at a time.
- Eat moderate amounts of high-carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates are found in bread, cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, fruits, milk, yogurt and some vegetables. Carbohydrate food is broken down into glucose during digestion. They are important because they contain essential nutrients for you and your developing baby. It's important to eat carbohydrates at every meal, but don't overeat.
- Eat small meals more often. Separate the carbohydrate foods you consume throughout the day. Reducing the amount of carbohydrate food you eat at one time means you need to eat more frequently to meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy. Eating three small meals and snacks between three or four meals can help you achieve your pregnancy diet goals without raising your blood sugar.
Blood glucose monitoring
The only way to know whether your gestational diabetes is properly controlled is to check your blood sugar frequently. You will be instructed to use a home blood glucose monitor. You should check your blood sugar at least four times a day, or follow your doctor's instructions. The first thing in the morning is to check the fasting blood sugar before eating or drinking. Check your blood sugar one hour after you start eating three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Consult your doctor about the target blood sugar level.
Most women with gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar simply by changing their diet. You need to follow the dietary guidelines until your baby is born. After childbirth, most women can resume their normal eating habits. Gestational diabetes does not affect your ability to breastfeed your baby.
For about 30% of women with gestational diabetes, diet alone is not enough to control blood sugar, they need to take insulin. Insulin is safe during pregnancy. If you are taking insulin, you still need to continue to eat as prescribed and monitor blood sugar levels.
Baby is born
After the baby is born, your blood sugar will be checked to make sure it is normal. Fortunately, gestational diabetes almost always disappears after your baby is born. If your blood sugar does not return to normal, it may mean that you had diabetes before you became pregnant.
The most important thing to remember is to check your blood sugar before getting pregnant again. Women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Women with diabetes before pregnancy have a higher risk of pregnancy complications. In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when the major organ systems are developing, the maternal blood sugar will increase and increase the risk of the fetus. Women with diabetes can help improve their chances of having a healthy baby by normalizing their blood sugar before pregnancy.