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What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes diagnosed for the first time during gestation or pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose).

Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy, your baby's health and cause long-term damages.

What are the causes of gestational diabetes?

Researchers are unclear about gestational diabetes causes. Excess weight before pregnancy often plays a role.

Your body efficiently keeps the blood sugar levels in check during normal days. But during pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal fluctuations, making it harder for the body to process blood sugar efficiently. This can make a pregnant woman's blood sugar rise and cause pregnancy complications.

What are gestational diabetes symptoms?

Gestational diabetes symptoms in pregnancy aren't visible most of the time. Increased thirst and more-frequent urination could be possible symptoms to watch out for.

Risk factors associated with Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes risk factors include:

  • Being overweight or obese before pregnancy

  • Being physically inactive

  • Earlier cases of gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies.

  • Suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)

  • Family history of diabetes

  • If you have delivered a baby during earlier pregnancy weighing more than 4 kilograms.

What are the complications associated with gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes if not managed properly can lead to high blood sugar levels in your body, a risk for both baby and mother. Having high levels of blood sugar can pose the risk of needing surgery to deliver or a C-section.

Gestational diabetes complications that may affect your baby include:

  • Excessive birth weight - Your baby can grow too large. Very large babies. Babies who weigh more are at a risk of getting birth injuries, getting stuck in the birth canal or needing a C-section to be delivered.

  • Early birth - You are at a higher risk of developing early labor and delivery before the date is due. Your doctor might recommend early delivery because the baby is too large which can lead to a lot of complications since the baby is not fully ready to be let out into the world.

  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes - Babies born to mothers who have experienced gestational diabetes are at a risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

  • Stillbirth - If blood sugar levels reach a dangerous high, you run the risk of having a still born baby, or death of your baby shortly after birth.

  • Babies can also have severe respiratory issues after being born and have low blood sugar levels, both a serious threat to life.

If you have gestational diabetes, you might have these complications:

  • Diabetes - If you had gestational diabetes once, you have greater chances of developing it again during your next pregnancy. You also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

  • Surgical delivery - A C-section or surgical delivery might become a reality for you if you have high blood sugar levels.

  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes raises your risk of high blood pressure, as well as preeclampsia — a serious threat to both the baby and mother's life.

What are the treatments for gestational diabetes?

Make dietary and lifestyle changes if you're looking for a natural treatment for gestational diabetes.

  • Lifestyle changes can include exercising more regularly, eating the right foods, maintaining a proper sleep schedule, managing stress levels, etc.

  • Getting good nutrition is a major part of gestational diabetes diet. Dietary changes can include adding more fiber, protein and other nutrients to your diet. Make your meals more colorful. Have more of fruits, nuts and vegetables.

  • Blood sugar monitoring and taking the medicines prescribed can go a long way in avoiding complications during pregnancy and delivery. Keep a close tab on your blood sugar levels and make frequent visits to the doctor.

  • Your doctor might prescribe insulin injections to bring your blood sugar levels down to normal. Always check with your doctor first before doing this.

Seek a doctor's care and advise as soon as you start planning pregnancy. They can check your risk for developing gestational diabetes. Once pregnant, checking for gestational diabetes as part of your regular check-ups becomes a step in prenatal care.

Take good care of your health and leave the rest to your health care provider. And if you have any questions for us leave them in the comments section below! See you next time!