Gestational Diabetes and Your Pregnancy
Many women when they are pregnant have elevated blood sugar levels. But they don’t have a history of diabetes or elevated levels prior to pregnancy. What gives? There’s a good chance the woman has gestational diabetes. In most women, their levels return to normal after delivery, but the condition merits attention. We diagnose and treat gestational diabetes at Women’s Health Medical Group.
What happens when you do have gestational diabetes? High blood sugar can make your baby grow too large, which will be an issue during delivery. Plus, the baby may be born with low blood sugar. Also, women who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
What causes gestational diabetes?
Most people have heard of the relationship between insulin and diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that your body makes to allow the proper usage and storage of sugar from the food we eat. The pancreas makes insulin, which keeps your blood sugar in the healthy range.
When you’re pregnant the placenta is busy making its own hormones. This hormone production can get in the way of your normal insulin production by your pancreas. This is called insulin resistance. If the pancreas in the pregnant woman can’t make more insulin to overcome the resistance, then the woman develops gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
While it has the name diabetes, gestational diabetes doesn’t necessarily present the same symptoms of typical diabetes. This lack of symptoms makes it important to be tested by the team at Women’s Health Medical Group for gestational diabetes.
These are typical symptoms of other forms of diabetes:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger
- Increased urination
- Blurred vision
Sometimes a woman may have diabetes before becoming pregnant without knowing it. Obviously, the symptoms above, particularly frequent urination and increased hunger, are part of normal pregnancy so they don’t necessarily mean the woman has diabetes. That’s why it’s important to be tested.
How do we test for gestational diabetes?
We screen for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. An oral glucose tolerance test is used.
Many pregnant women can control their blood sugar level by changing the way they eat and by exercising regularly. Once diagnosed, you’ll need to check your blood sugar level at home. You may also need to give yourself insulin shots to help control your blood sugar level.
Regular testing for a variety of conditions is important to every pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is just one of the conditions to be aware of. Call us at (817) 346-5336 to schedule your appointment.