Sugar can be bittersweet; brutally bitter on the body, tantalisingly sweet on the tongue. Especially during pregnancy. Although a burgeoning belly can be regarded as a free ticket to unlimited sugar, it’s an accepted reality far from the truth, courtesy a condition known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a prenatal condition that increases insulin resistance during pregnancy. It can affect the body’s ability to process glucose, and cause unusual spikes in blood sugar levels. Unmanaged, it can have dangerous effects on mother and baby.
If you aren’t acquainted with the condition, this overview should help you become more familiar. Settle in, swap your cookie for a cracker, and allow us to run you through the basics.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can be your arch nemesis during pregnancy, creating a wall between you and your sugary treats. The condition impedes the body’s sugar processing mechanism, due to insulin resistance or low insulin production. In turn, gestational diabetes leads to fluctuating blood sugar levels and sometimes, hyperglycemia. Unlike other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes is restricted to pregnancy, with most new mommas losing their symptoms shortly after delivery. That being said, half of all women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes within ten years. Very rarely, some new moms continue to experience gestational diabetes after childbirth.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Certain categories of women are more susceptible to gestational diabetes. If you are diagnosed with the condition, it’s highly likely that you will be put on a special medication and treatment plan and be advised to limit your sugar intake. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
- Over 25 years of age
- Family history of diabetes
- Prior pregnancy with gestational diabetes
- Prior pregnancy with baby weighing over 9 pounds at birth
- Prior incidence of stillborn baby
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Sometimes, gestational diabetes does not exhibit obvious signs or symptoms. Symptoms can be subtle and may be mistaken for typical pregnancy symptoms. Frequent urination, for instance, is a classic symptom of gestational diabetes, but it is also symptomatic of a non-diabetic pregnancy. Other pronounced signs of gestational diabetes include:
- Patchy vision
- Numb hands or feet
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive fatigue
Complications Caused By Gestational Diabetes
It is important to be in tune with your body through your pregnancy and report anything out of the ordinary. Gestational diabetes can present dangerous consequences for you and your baby and a suitable treatment plan can minimise your risk of medical complications. Here are some risks linked to the condition:
Complications for Momma
- High blood pressure
- Premature labour
- Delivery via C-section
Complications for Baby
- Higher birth weight
- Shoulder dystocia
- Birth defects
- Cardiac problems
- Neural tube malformations
- Low blood sugar
- Respiratory problems
- Extended NICU stay
Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes
The diagnosis of gestational diabetes entails a number of time-monitored tests, to ascertain blood sugar levels at various stages of food consumption. It’s important to remember that gestational diabetes is a manageable condition and doesn’t have to set off any alarm bells. With basic lifestyle modifications, a low-carb diet and regular exercise, you can enhance your body’s ability to process sugar. In addition, you may be advised to monitor your blood sugar at home with a use-at-home blood testing device. If your initial symptoms do not show signs of improvement, your doctor may prescribe medication to aid your body in responding to insulin.
On Cloudnine, our seasoned gynaecological panel has rich expertise in dealing with complex cases of gestational diabetes. If you find yourself identifying with any of the symptoms mentioned above, have yourself tested for an official diagnosis. Trust us to help you manage your pregnancy in the safest and healthiest way, and to restore the sugar-sweet moments along your maternity journey.
If you found this article interesting and would like to know more, talk to a Cloudnine expert today!