Even though symptoms for gestational diabetes are nothing to be alarmed about unless they continue past the pregnancy, they should still be carefully monitored.
Prenatal care begins with visits to the doctor as soon as the woman realizes she is pregnant. Prenatal care is important for both the health of the pregnant woman and the health of the soon to be born child. Gestational diabetes testing is a normal part of routine prenatal care even in cases where the woman is not experiencing typical gestational diabetes symptoms.
What Gestational Diabetes is And Why It’s Important
Gestational diabetes is a condition that occurs to a woman during pregnancy. It can manifest symptoms of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes does not usually occur in all pregnancy cases, just in less than 5% of all pregnancies. The condition usually disappears or show signs of improvement after the woman have given birth although in almost half of the cases, the woman ultimately develops type 2 diabetes later on. Gestational diabetes can occur in women who have not experienced any form of diabetes in their lives before.
Gestational diabetes may be just for a limited amount of time but it can affect the health of the fetus or the mother if left unmanaged. The fetus may develop anomalies in the central nervous system, anomalies in the cardiac system, have a higher or lower birth weight and malformations in the skeletal and muscular systems. The fetus may also experience respiratory distress syndrome, inhibit the production of fetal surfactant and destruction of red blood cells.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes may sometimes manifests symptoms like a feeling of excessive thirst which will result to drinking of a lot of fluids and frequent urination. These symptoms are similar to type1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, gestational diabetes is not noticeable for most pregnant women which can be dangerous. Medical practitioners need to constantly monitor pregnant women especially after their 5th or 6th month for any signs of gestational diabetes.
Treating Gestational Diabetes
Actually, gestational diabetes will normally disappear or will lessen several weeks after the woman has given birth. The pregnancy related hormones that were being produced during pregnancy will have been cleared by then. There is a risk of the woman contracting type 2 diabetes later in life after she has developed gestational diabetes. This is most likely due to her genes or her lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can prevent someone prone to diabetes from developing it. Smoking is also a factor in some types of diabetes and can be dangerous for the fetus and should be avoided.
Many medical practitioners recommend controlling weight gain and carbohydrate intake during pregnancy to help defray gestational diabetes. Expectant mothers should be extra careful regarding their conditions especially if they come from a family prone to diabetes. Genetics plays a vital role in diabetes of any type or kind. If you suspect that you may be susceptible to gestational diabetes, do not hesitate to consult your obstetrician regarding tests about this.
Gestational Diabetes Risks
There are certain risk factors that can make a woman more prone to developing gestational diabetes. If you meet any of the following conditions, you have greater odds of developing this disease:
- You’re over 33 years of age
- You’re overweight or obese. The more overweight you are, the greater your odds.
- You’ve had gestational diabetes before
- You’re of African American, Indian, Hispanic, or Asian descent.
- You are a smoker.
If you are concerned, once you’re pregnant, see your doctor about having a gestational diabetes test done on yourself.
Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor or health care professional will probably want to put you onto a special diabetes meal plan. Each doctor or dietician will have their food preferences, but the diet will most likely focus on limiting the amount of carbohydrates that you eat. We all need some carbohydrates, but too much in too short of a time can raise your blood sugar to unsafe amounts. Most pregnant women will be able to control their gestational diabetes with their diet. But, your doctor may determine that you need additional help in the form of drugs. It’s important not to self medicate. Let your doctor be your guide.