Gestational diabetes is the increase in blood sugar levels that occur during pregnancy disappears after birth. While it can occur at any time during pregnancy it is more common during the second half of your pregnancy. It occurs as a result of not being able to produce enough insulin to keep the blood sugar levels down.
Here is what puts you at risk.
Having gestational diabetes does not necessarily mean that you had diabetes pre pregnancy or will continue suffering from it post pregnancy. But, if not managed carefully, it can raise a risk of developing type 2 diabetes and make it worse. It can also affect your child’s risk of having diabetes and increase complications for you and your baby.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
The exact reason behind gestational diabetes is not known. But in most of the cases, hormones play a role. While pregnancy, a woman’s body releases larger amounts of human placental lactogen (Hpl) and hormones which increase insulin resistance, as these help maintain your pregnancy. But if these hormones keep releasing with larger amounts in long term, they can affect the functionality of insulin which is the hormone which helps maintain our blood sugar levels.
Insulin helps move glucose from blood to our cells and this is how it is used for energy. In pregnancy, your body wants to retain some glucose in blood stream to pass on to the baby , that’s why the body turns slightly insulin resistant. However, if it exceeds the regular condition, the body may act abnormally which can cause gestational diabetes.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Any woman can get this but you are more likely to suffer from gestational diabetes if you are:
- Over the obese limit of body mass index (greater than 30)
- In your previous pregnancy if your child weighed more than 4.5kg
- You had gestational diabetes in your previous pregnancy
- Either your siblings or parent(s) have diabetes
- If your ethnicity is South Asian, Chinese, African or Caribbean
- Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or other conditions relating to or causing insulin resistance
If you are or have any one of these, make sure to get screened for diabetes.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
It is usually devoid of symptoms but if your blood sugar levels are too high you might feel:
● More thirsty than usual
● Frequent urination
● Dryness of mouth
● Tired or fatigued more than usual
Noticing any of these symptoms and reporting it to your doctor and can bring down the effects of this.
Gestational Diabetes and Its Effect on Pregnancy
Most women with it have normal pregnancies but some may have effects during and after their pregnancy if:
● Your baby growing larger than usual leading to problems in birthing and may require a C-section
● Too much amniotic fluid that can lead to premature labor
● Premature birth
● High blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnancy
● Your newborn developing low blood sugar due to too much insulin
● Increased chances of still-birth
This is usually detected by the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). It is usually done between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy and is commonly done in all women now.
Treating Gestational Diabetes
The goal is to reduce the blood sugar levels for which you may be given tablets or insulin. However, you will also need to adopt healthy eating and exercise during your pregnancy. The best way to prevent it also includes achieving an ideal weight before pregnancy.
Healthcare Plan for Team Members and Family
Onsurity’s employee healthcare plans make sure to keep a mother’s and her child’s health on a priority and that is why we have a feature to let you add your family members to the healthcare plan too.
Get access to a complete healthcare package which includes group health insurance and other benefits like doctor teleconsultations, discounted medicines, access to fitness sessions and webinars.
If you are a team member and looking for affordable healthcare benefits, refer us to your company HR or if you are already an Employer/HR, you can subscribe to our plan today, click on the button below to check out our membership plans for your employees healthcare and their family for their safety and better health.