This is a specific type of diabetes that occurs in women during pregnancy. Basically, it is caused by hormones that occur during pregnancy that block insulin from doing its job in breaking down blood sugar. This leads to a condition of diabetes that a woman may have when pregnant, and usually clears up once the child is born.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
The symptoms that will be experienced are much the same as with diabetes in general. You can have an increase in thirst. There will also be an increase in the frequency of urination that is disproportional to the amount of liquids that are consumed. Fatigue will set in with occasional blurred vision. Nausea and weight loss can also be symptoms of gestational diabetes. Many of these symptoms can be mild and easily confused with the effects of being pregnant.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
The symptoms alone are not enough to indicate a problem. In fact, because they are often so mild, they usually mean nothing, but when accompanied by risk factors, your health care provider needs to be informed. Among these factors are having diabetes in your family, being overweight before your pregnancy and having high blood pressure. A doctor can look at your medical history to determine what other factors may be applicable to your pregnancy.
Why Treatment is Needed for Gestational Diabetes
For the sake of the child as well as the mother, this type of diabetes needs to be controlled. Doctors will usually test pregnant women by the 24th week. Without a diagnosis and treatment, a woman can give birth to a baby that is much larger than it would normally have been with complications. In many cases, the baby will not be able to be born vaginally. This increase in size is due to the high levels of sugar in the mother’s blood. This provides much greater energy than a baby requires for normal growth. A baby will often have a condition of low blood sugar levels after birth. This is due to the baby’s pancreas producing high levels of insulin in response to the mother’s blood sugar, then at birth the amount of sugar in the child’s blood is suddenly low so they need additional sugar water or breastmilk at birth.
The Fundamental Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
There are several treatments used to control gestational diabetes, but fundamental to all of them is with diet. In fact, with a proper diet and monitoring of your blood sugar, most women can keep the problem under control. In general, a diet that is low to moderate in both fat and protein is needed. Carbohydrates are obtained from fruits and whole grains. All food with sugar is avoided or completely eliminated such as soda pop, candy, donuts and other sugary snacks.
There are medications that can be prescribed to a pregnant woman to keep her blood sugar levels from getting too high, but these should not be used to control high blood sugar levels that come from eating the wrong foods. It is much healthier for you and your baby to eat right to begin with.
You can learn more about a gestational diabetes diet from our meal planning solution that is a kit put together to guide you through your gestational diabetes and help you improve your health. Click here to find out more.