Risk factors from gestational diabetes..Gestational diabetes manifests during pregnancy (gestation). As with other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the way cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes a high blood sugar level that can affect your pregnancy and the health of your baby.
risk factors from gestational diabetes
All the complications of pregnancy are worrisome, but there is good news. Pregnant women can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising, and, if necessary, taking medications. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a complicated birth and maintain your health and that of your baby.
In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal after delivery. But if you have had gestational diabetes, you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. You will continue to work with your health care team to control and treat your blood sugar.
In most women, gestational diabetes does not produce any noticeable signs or symptoms.
When to see the doctor
If possible, seek medical attention as soon as possible (as soon as you think about looking for a pregnancy) so that the doctor can assess the risk of gestational diabetes within your general reproductive health plan. Once you’re pregnant, your doctor will check you for gestational diabetes as part of prenatal care.
If you have gestational diabetes, you may need more frequent check-ups. These are more likely to occur in the last three months of pregnancy, when the doctor will monitor your blood sugar level and the baby’s health.
The doctor can refer you to other health professionals specialized in diabetes, such as an endocrinologist, a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator. They can teach you how to control your blood sugar level during pregnancy.
To verify that your blood sugar level has returned to normal after the baby is born, the health care team will check your blood sugar immediately after delivery and again six weeks later. If you have already had gestational diabetes, it is advisable to measure your blood sugar level on a regular basis.
The frequency of blood sugar tests will depend, in part, on the results of tests performed shortly after you give birth.
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Researchers do not know why some women get gestational diabetes. To understand how it occurs, it can be helpful to understand how pregnancy affects how the body processes glucose.
The body digests the food you eat to produce sugar (glucose) that enters the bloodstream. In response, the pancreas-a large gland behind the stomach-produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose travel from the bloodstream to the cells of the body, where it is used as energy.
During pregnancy, the placenta, which connects the baby to your blood supply, produces high levels of other hormones. Almost all of them inhibit the action of insulin in the cells, which raises the blood sugar level. During pregnancy, it is normal for there to be a slight increase in blood sugar after meals.
As the baby grows, the placenta produces more and more hormones that counteract insulin. In gestational diabetes, the hormones in the placenta cause an increase in blood sugar to a level that can affect the growth and well-being of the baby. Usually, gestational diabetes manifests during the last half of pregnancy – in some cases, even in week 20, but usually happens later.
All women may have gestational diabetes, but some women are at higher risk. Some of the risk factors for gestational diabetes are:
Be over 25 years old Women over 25 are more likely to have gestational diabetes.
Family or personal medical history. Your risk of gestational diabetes increases if you have prediabetes – a slightly elevated blood sugar level that could be a precursor to type 2 diabetes or if a close family member, such as your father, mother, brother or sister, has type 2 diabetes You are also more likely to have gestational diabetes if you had it in a previous pregnancy, if you gave birth to a baby over 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms), or if you had a pregnancy with stillbirth without apparent cause, and she also could have headache or blood pressure.
Overweight. You are more likely to manifest gestational diabetes if you are overweight with a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30.
Ethnic group. For reasons that are not clear, women of African-American, Hispanic, Native American or Asian origin are at increased risk of gestational diabetes.
The majority of women with gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies. However, gestational diabetes that is not carefully controlled can produce uncontrolled blood sugar and cause problems for you and your baby, including an increased chance that you should have a cesarean at the time of delivery.
Complications that can affect your baby
If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may have an increased risk of the following:
Overweight at birth. Excess glucose in the bloodstream crosses the placenta, which causes the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin. This can cause the baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Very large babies – who weigh 9 pounds (4 kg) or more – are more likely to get stuck in the birth canal, suffer birth injuries or require a cesarean delivery.
Premature birth (preterm) and respiratory distress syndrome. A high blood sugar level in the mother can increase the risk of premature labor and of the baby being born before the expected date. Or, the doctor may recommend a premature delivery because the baby is very large.
Babies born prematurely may have respiratory distress syndrome-a condition that complicates breathing. Babies with this syndrome may need breathing assistance until their lungs mature and get stronger. Babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may have respiratory distress syndrome even if they are not born early.
Low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia) Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia can cause seizures in the baby. Schedule feeding and, sometimes, an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby’s blood sugar level back to normal.
Type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the future.