It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from gestational diabetes. In fact, it affects two to four percent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Gestational diabetes is a high-blood sugar condition first found in pregnancy. It is caused when your body cannot produce enough insulin, or even process insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows your cells to turn sugar into energy.
How will gestational diabetes affect my pregnancy?
If left untreated, gestational diabetes can definitely affect your baby. He or she could develop a condition called macrosomia, where your baby would grow very large, possibly resulting in the need for a cesarean section. He or she could also develop neonatal hypoglycemia, prolonged newborn jaundice, low blood calcium, or respiratory distress syndrome.
Am I at risk of having gestational diabetes?
Women who already suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, as well as women who are obese. Other factors include:
- A family history of diabetes
- Older maternal age
- Previous delivery of a baby over 9 pounds
- High blood pressure
There are not really many noticeable symptoms related to gestational diabetes, but your health care provider will test for it around week 24 of your pregnancy.
How is it treated?
The easiest way to control gestational diabetes is to control your glucose intake. Your doctor will most likely suggest that you follow the nutritional guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. This will basically limit your intake of sugars and fats while eating the right foods to ensure that you receive all the other nutrients you will need to have a healthy pregnancy.