|What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Any week now, your health care provider will send you for glucose testing to see if you are developing gestational diabetes The American Diabetes Association reports that 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes are diagnosed each year. Undiagnosed and untreated cases of gestational diabetes are harmful to both mother and child, so it’s important for you to take the time to get tested.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
It’s not known why healthy women without diabetes develop the gestational form, but it is thought hormones from the pregnancy process play a strong part. The hormones from the baby’s placenta help the baby to grow normally, and also keep the mother’s insulin from doing its job—regulating glucose levels in the body. This means you will need more insulin than usual to help your body break down and utilize sugars.
There are risks of gestational diabetes, though the rate of birth defects in the unborn child is low. Gestational diabetes usually shows up later in pregnancy, after the baby is formed. However, your child’s size and weight will be affected. Because your body doesn’t use glucose efficiently, the extra glucose passes through the placenta into the baby. Extra glucose means extra ‘food’ the baby doesn’t need, causing the baby to layer on fat. A fat baby potentially means a difficult birth, more incidences of C-section and other complications.
What’s A Glucose Test?
A Glucose test is a customary screening test for Gestational Diabetes. First, you’ll have some blood drawn. Then you’ll have to drink a sweet soda-like substance. After a certain period of time, you’ll have more blood drawn. The two samples are compared to see how the sugar in the blood is utilized. If the results aren’t normal, you may have to go back for a longer test to confirm Gestational Diabetes.
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes usually involves a strict meal plan that limits simple carbohydrates (white bread, potatoes and candy, for example) and exercise. You may also need to monitor your blood glucose levels and take insulin injections. Though this seems drastic, you can relax in knowing most women with gestational diabetes find the condition clears up after you give birth. However, any pregnancies you have in the future will probably trigger a relapse of Gestational Diabetes.