What Pregnant Mothers Should Know About Gestational Diabetes

CDC/James Gathany

Gestational Diabetes and You

Gestational diabetes is a serious condition that can occur in any pregnancy, and every woman is tested for it. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to process the additional blood sugar produced by a woman’s body while pregnant.

An estimated 2 to 5 percent of all pregnant women will get gestational diabetes; doctors test for this condition between a woman’s 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The test for gestational diabetes is a simple blood test that is taken one hour after the mother consumes a sugary beverage. The blood is then tested for blood glucose levels.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Gestational diabetes rarely occurs with symptoms. Some women may experience increased thirst, frequent urination, nausea, fatigue, blurred vision and more frequent skin and bladder infections. Many of these symptoms may be attributed to the pregnancy itself, so symptoms alone should not be considered an indication of gestational diabetes.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will carefully monitor your pregnancy. You may be taught how to self-monitor your own blood glucose levels, how to take insulin, if necessary, and how to control your diet and exercise while pregnant. Carefully observing the proper diet is essential to controlling your gestational diabetes, because it is your diet that controls the amount of blood sugar in your system.

The Doctors Response to Gestational Diebetes

Your doctor will also closely monitor the baby. You may undergo additional ultrasounds to ensure the health of the baby, and your office visits may be more frequent, especially during the last three months of pregnancy. Babies who are born from gestational diabetic mothers have a chance of being born larger than normal. They are also at added risk for premature delivery and you doctor may suggest a caesarian delivery. Your baby is also at risk of respiratory distress if you have gestational diabetes, and there is a small added risk of fetal and neonatal death. All of these risks are, however, greatly reduced if your gestational diabetes is properly managed.

Will I Return to Normal After Pregnancy?

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