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No More the Sugar Mama: Gestational Diabetes, Decoded

If you’re the kind to scavenge for cake crumbs at the bottom of the box, you may have another thing coming with gestational diabetes.

A condition that forces you to lay your sweet tooth to rest, gestational diabetes can be hard on your cravings, and harder on your body. With elusive symptoms that are hard to catch, it’s best to arm yourself with information about the condition if you’ve got a baby in your belly.

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Here, we give you the low-down.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes exclusive to pregnancy, typically known to appear in the second or third trimester. The condition is temporary, and women who develop it, do not generally have a history of diabetes. In those women that are diagnosed early, there is a high chance that diabetes existed prior to pregnancy.

Likewise, women who have had past pregnancies with gestational diabetes are advised to rule out the condition in subsequent pregnancies. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can still live the sweet life, sans the sugar. All it takes is a little extra care.

Must Read: Learn more about Gestational Diabetes!

What Causes Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is triggered by a rise in pregnancy hormones, which challenges the body’s ability to properly process insulin. Insulin resistance hampers the conversion of glucose to energy, leading to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

What Are the Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes?

Some women are more at risk of gestational diabetes than others. Some risk factors are given below:

  • Overweight
  • Inordinate weight gain during pregnancy
  • Family members with diabetes
  • Older than 30
  • Prior history of gestational diabetes
  • Prior miscarriages, stillbirths, or other untoward obstetric events
  • Previously large baby at birth
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

It is important to note that gestational diabetes can occur without any ostensible risk factors. It is best to have the condition ruled out as part of standard prenatal testing.

To Know More: About The Truth About Gestational Diabetes

How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?

A blood test for glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), offered as part of standard prenatal testing, offers a valuable keyhole into the risk of gestational diabetes for an expectant mother. This is usually conducted before 20 weeks. Another blood test is generally advised between 24 and 28 weeks, to ascertain the onset of diabetes.

What Are the Complications Associated With Gestational Diabetes?

During Pregnancy

Unchecked diabetes can give rise to high blood sugar and fat, and lead to ‘macrosomia’, or a high-birth-weight baby. Premature labour, miscarriage and stillbirth are also possible out comes.

Must Read: Silent Sugar Syndrome

During Delivery

Macrosomia can make it hard for a baby to be delivered naturally. Such cases usually require surgical intervention. Another serious risk of gestational diabetes is shoulder dystocia, a condition where the baby’s head glides through the vagina, but the shoulder lodges behind the mother’s pelvic bone. This scenario can cause serious setbacks to the mother and baby.

Postpartum

Babies with low blood sugar usually require round-the-clock monitoring for the first couple of days. Problems with breathing are also common.

What Are the Treatment Options for Gestational Diabetes?

Treatment for gestational diabetes is usually a combination of lifestyle modifications and medication. The aim of treatment is to reduce blood glucose levels and enhance insulin processing. Lifestyle measures include adopting a balanced diet and following a regular exercise regime. Medication in the form of metformin or insulin may also be prescribed.

With effective pregnancy care, you can manage gestational diabetes and minimize its symptoms. By leaving the sugar out, for now, you’ll soon be able to open your life’s sweetest chapter.

Must Read: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Complications of Gestational Diabetes

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