How Can I Avoid Gestational Diabetes?

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All expectant mothers are required to get tested for gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Expecting mothers over the age of 35, either over weight or have a family history of diabetes must be tested more frequently.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes also called as glucose intolerance or carbohydrate intolerance, is a temporary form of diabetes in which the body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin to regulate sugar during pregnancy.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes include:

  • Sugar in urine
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent vaginal, bladder, and skin infections
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Why to get tested for gestational diabetes?

Studies show that approximately 2-5% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes and  7-9% of mothers are more likely to have risk factors. The screening for gestational diabetes is usually done between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy, because the placenta produces large amounts of hormones that cause insulin resistance. If the results indicate elevated levels, further testing will be needed to confirm a gestational diabetes diagnosis.

What to expect during the test?

During your prenatal visit, your doctor may provide you a sweet liquid to drink which may cause you to feel a bit nauseous. The results will indicate whether you produce enough insulin or not.

Treatment for gestational diabetes

The primary step to treat gestational diabetes is to control the blood sugar levels.

The steps that must be taken to maintain healthy blood sugar levels:

  • Close monitoring of both mother and baby
  • Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels
  • Insulin therapy
  • Diet and exercise management

Points to be taken care of

If gestational diabetes is diagnosed and treated effectively, it causes only less complications. In such cases, women give birth to healthy babies and the diabetes may disappear after delivery.

However, if gestational diabetes left untreated, it may cause certain effects on the mother and baby including:

  • Large birth weight
  • Premature delivery
  • Increased chance of cesarean delivery
  • Slightly increased risk of fetal and neonatal death

It is also necessary that one must monitor the signs of diabetes even after giving birth.

These symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Persistent thirst
  • Increased sugar in blood or urine

Test must be continued even after delivery to make sure that the blood sugar levels have returned back to normal. Keep in mind that women who have gestational diabetes is at an increased risk for developing overt (Type II) diabetes in future.