It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from gestational diabetes. In fact, it affects two to four percent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Gestational diabetes is a high-blood sugar condition first found in pregnancy. It is caused when your body cannot produce enough insulin, or even process insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by t he pancreas that allows your cells to turn sugar into energy.
How will gestational diabetes affect my pregnancy? If left untreated, gestational diabetes can definitely affect your baby. He could develop a condition called macrosomia, where he would grow very large, possibly resulting in the need for a cesarean section. He could also develop neonatal hypoglycemia, prolonged newborn jaundice, low blood calcium, or respiratory distress syndrome.
Am I at risk of having gestational diabetes? Women who already suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, as well as women who are obese. Other factors include:
- A family history of diabetes.
- Older maternal age.
- Previous delivery of a baby over 9 pounds.
- High blood pressure.
There are not really many noticeable symptoms related to gestational diabetes, but your health care provider will test for it around week 24 of your pregnancy.
How is it treated? The easiest way to control gestational diabetes is to control your glucose intake. Your doctor will most likely suggest that you follow the nutritional guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. This will basically limit your intake of sugars and fats your body gets while eating the right foods to ensure that you receive all of the other nutrients that you will need to have a healthy pregnancy.