A Guide for Gestational Diabetes
Many have heard of diabetes, but what does it mean when it’s gestational? Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Each year, up to 10% of pregnant women may experience this condition. Gestational diabetes is a manageable condition and with the right precautions, you can have a safe and healthy delivery!
What is gestational diabetes?
This is a condition where a pregnant mother cannot make enough insulin for the body. Insulin is the hormone responsible for making sure sugar is allowed to enter your body’s cells for energy. However, when not enough insulin is produced, your cells will not be able to uptake the sugar, causing there to be high sugar levels left in the blood. Typically, symptoms are not present with this condition.1 The best way to prevent gestational diabetes is to maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise prior to pregnancy.
Testing and Treatment
Gestational diabetes develops around the 24th week of pregnancy. Your provider should request blood work around this time to check for elevated blood sugar. If results suggest gestational diabetes, it is important to continue to follow-up with your provider as suggested throughout the duration of your pregnancy. Your provider can help you develop a diet and physical activity plan best suited for your pregnancy. If needed, you may be prescribed medication to help regulate your blood sugar levels.
Other outcomes to consider
While there may not be any symptoms of gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, there are other complications associated with this condition . The mother will be at increased risk for hypertension during pregnancy and will have a 50% chance of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Furthermore, the baby is at risk of higher birth weight which may require a cesarean-section and the child may also be at higher risk of developing diabetes later in life.
While gestational diabetes is linked with other complications, there are actionable steps you can take to decrease your risk of developing gestational diabetes. At Trust Women’s Healthcare we provide counseling for women planning to conceive or in the early stage of their pregnancy. Do not delay, schedule an appointment with us!
- CDC. Gestational Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published March 2, 2022. Accessed October 28, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html