Pregnancy Induced Diabetes: Your Questions Answered

We’ve gathered some of the most common questions asked about pregnancy induced diabetes, and brought them together to provide you with some answers.

Gestational diabetes is defined as diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy and was not present prior to pregnancy.  Sometimes people call it pregnancy induced diabetes.  Because you have the condition only while you’re pregnant.  And once you deliver the baby and the placenta, typically you can return to normal eating pattern.  Today I’m going to review some questions and provide answers for the most commonly asked items related to pregnancy induced diabetes.

How Common Is Pregnancy Induced Diabetes?

Nationally, between 1 to 2 women in 10, develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  The guidelines are somewhat stricter for the development of the disease because of the fact that you’re pregnant and they want to take extra caution caring for your baby.  Even though it is fairly common, it’s not clear what women can do to prevent developing pregnancy induced diabetes.

What Are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes?

As you may be aware of, when you’re pregnant your hormones in your body do all kinds of things to your emotions, physical body amongst other things.  Hormones are the root cause of development of pregnancy induced diabetes as well.  As your pregnancy progresses, insulin sensitivity decreases.  Women who are overweight when they get pregnant may already have pre-diabetes and their body can’t manage the changes in insulin sensitivity.  Insulin resistance is also increased because of placental hormones.  Some of these hormones are cortisol, estrogen, and progesterone.  As the baby develops your placenta gets larger and also secretes more hormones.  This further causes insulin sensitivity to decrease.  So as your pregnancy progresses, if your body can’t make enough insulin to adjust to the amount that your body needs, you develop gestational diabetes.  This is also why they tend to test for gestational diabetes during the 24th through 28th week, because by that point it will have developed enough to show in a blood test.

How Does My Doctor Screen and Diagnose Pregnancy Induced Diabetes?

Your obstetrician initially determines your risk level for developing pregnancy induced diabetes and that helps them to determine when to test you.  If the determination is made to give you the initial test, for screening women are typically given 50 g of sugar.  This is called an oral glucose challenge because you drink a sugary sweet liquid.  Blood is drawn at 1 hour, and tested.  Typically, your physician will consider you for further testing if your 1 hour glucose challenge lab result is over 130 mg/dL.  If you fail the one hour glucose challenge test, your doctor will require you to do a 3 hour oral glucose tolerance test [OGTT].  In this testing, women are given 100 g of glucose and their blood is taken every hour for 3 hours.  Your doctor will determine the thresholds and how to diagnose.  Even if your blood sugar seems just a little bit elevated you should consider following a gestational diabetes diet plan to keep from having a larger baby or gaining too much weight.

Even if you have pregnancy induced diabetes, it’s important to realize that it’s easily managed using a meal pattern, exercise, and sometimes medication.  Most women view it as something that they have to tolerate for the duration of the pregnancy knowing that after the placenta is delivered, the condition typically goes away.  Click here now to learn more about our gestational diabetes meal plan and get an e-book that tells you even more about diabetes during pregnancy and how you can manage it.

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