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The Sugar Charade: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Complications of Gestational Diabetes

There’s nothing sweeter than marking special milestones with spoonfuls of sugar. And since pregnancy features near the top of most women’s bucket list, it’s only fair that it should be commemorated with sugary scrumptiousness. You’ve got to admit, sugar has a way of making the skies sing and the trees dance and your soul tingle. Until it collects in your belly and flips your world 180. Oh, sugar.

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Understanding Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes can be quite the party pooper when it comes to pregnancy, preventing you from indulging your sweet tooth as often as you’d like. The condition suppresses the body from properly moderating blood sugar levels during pregnancy and is typically triggered by insulin resistance or low insulin production. Gestational diabetes causes blood sugar levels to spike, giving rise to a condition called hyperglycemia.

The good news is that most mommas-to-be diagnosed with gestational diabetes shed symptoms after they deliver; the condition is usually limited to pregnancy alone. However, women who become diabetic during pregnancy run-up to a 50% risk of contracting type 2 diabetes within a decade. In rare cases, new moms may continue to experience diabetic symptoms after childbirth.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is more likely to strike women who fall into certain categories. If a diagnosis is made, it’s likely that you will be advised extra pregnancy care.

Here are the most likely risk factors:

  • Over 25 years of age
  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Prior to pregnancy with gestational diabetes
  • Prior to pregnancy with a baby weighing over 9 pounds at birth
  • Prior incidence of a stillborn baby

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes does not always display clear symptoms. Symptoms can be discreet and overlap with normal pregnancy symptoms. The urge to urinate, for example, is a symptom of gestational diabetes, but it can also occur in non-diabetic pregnant women. If you suspect you’re diabetic during pregnancy, take note of the following symptoms and correlate them with yours.

  • Patchy vision
  • Numb hands or feet
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Excessive fatigue

Complications Caused By Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes can be dangerous, holding the potential to increase medical complications during pregnancy. Some of these are highlighted below.

Complications for Momma                                                                                                                               Complications for Baby

High blood pressure                                                                                                                      Higher birth weight

Preeclampsia                                                                                                                                Shoulder dystocia

Premature labor                                                                                                                           Birth defects

Delivery via C-section                                                                                                              Cardiac problems

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                 Neural tube malformations

                                                                                                                                                  Still birth

                                                                                                                                                 Low blood sugar

                                                                                                                                          Respiratory problems

                                                                                                                                            Extended NICU stay

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Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes

Diagnosing gestational diabetes will involve a series of time-monitored tests to assess your blood sugar levels at various stages before and after consuming sugary food or beverage. There’s no need to panic if you are indeed diagnosed with the condition, however. Your doctor will likely prescribe basic lifestyle modifications such as a diabetic diet and regular exercise.

You may also be advised to monitor your blood sugar at home with a use-at-home blood testing device. Of course, if your condition doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes, you may be given a medicated treatment plan to help your body respond to insulin.

Gestational diabetes treatment on Cloudnine is managed by a team of veteran obstetricians who have years of experience in the field. Schedule an appointment today to help you navigate your pregnancy and keep you and your baby healthy and happy. For now, though, lay off the cupcakes and save your sweet tooth for D-day. Show gestational diabetes that revenge can be sweet, after all.

Must Read: Sugar-Coated Shenanigans Diabetes And Your Child

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