Finding out your pregnant is one of the most exciting periods in a woman’s life.
It can also be one of the most anxiety inducing nine months a woman ever experiences.
You want to do all you can to ensure the health of the new addition to your family. So, you try to eat healthier, cut out caffeine, and reduce stress as much as possible.
Despite a woman’s best efforts, though, complications can arise.
One common issue during pregnancy is gestational diabetes.
How can a healthy woman end up with a gestational form of diabetes? Is there anything she can do about it?
What Are Gestational Disorders Like Gestational Diabetes?
Gestation is the period of time that a baby is carried in the womb. During this time, a number of gestational disorders can arise. These disorders can hinder the baby’s growth and development.
In extreme cases, the disorder can put the life and long-term health of both the baby and mother in jeopardy.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. If the mother is predisposed to diabetes, the pregnancy can be the trigger that is needed for the disease to manifest itself.
To help the baby grow, the body produces extra hormones. These hormones can actually work against the body. In the case of diabetes, the hormones reduce the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin.
Therefore, sugars in the blood can’t get to the cells and energize the body. Instead, they build up and make the mom’s blood sugar levels rise to unsafe levels. This can lead to complications during pregnancy and labor.
What can happen to the baby if blood sugar levels aren’t regulated?
- Excessive birth weight
- Preterm labor
- Respiratory distress during birth
- Neural tube defects
- Heart disease
- Higher likelihood that they’ll develop type 2 diabetes later.
Babies aren’t the only ones at risk, though. Here’s what could happen to mom.
- High blood pressure
- Preeclampsia (a condition that puts the mom and baby’s life at risk)
- Higher risk of diabetes in the future.
Expectant Moms – Watch for These Signs of Gestational Diabetes
On average, approximately seven percent of pregnant women end up developing gestational diabetes.
It’s vital to talk to your doctor right at the start of your pregnancy, or if you’re planning on getting pregnant, if you have a family history of diabetes. This gives the doctor the opportunity to monitor your blood sugar levels and take the necessary steps to keep you and your baby healthy.
You and your doctor should talk about the possibility of diabetes during gestation, particularly if you have the following risk factors.
- You were overweight before your pregnancy
- You are of Native American, African American, Asian, or Hispanic descent
- Your blood sugar is already high
- There’s a family history of diabetes
- You’ve had diabetes during gestation in the past
- You have high blood pressure or heart disease
All moms-to-be know how important it is to focus on their health during their pregnancy. But you also need to know what symptoms to watch for. If you develop any of these gestational diabetes symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor right away.
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive fatigue
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty healing from wounds
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
As you can see, signs of gestational diabetes are the same as your typical diabetes symptoms. This type of diabetes is especially dangerous, though – both to you and your baby.
What You Can Do If You’re Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes
Once you’ve had signs of gestational diabetes and receive a diagnosis from your doctor, what’s next? How can you keep your diabetes under control throughout your pregnancy?
The most important goal you and your doctor will want to achieve is keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
Your doctor will want you to come in more often to evaluate your blood glucose levels carefully. In addition to close monitoring from your doctor, you’ll want to monitor your levels on a daily basis at home.
To treat your diabetes, your doctor may prescribe insulin. They’ll also likely recommend sticking to a healthy diet and exercising daily.
Take Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Little Baby
If you’re pregnant, congratulations! This is such a happy time in a person’s life. But at times, things can go wrong. That’s why it’s vital during gestation to do all you can to protect the health and wellness of your baby.
Take steps to eat healthy foods, get plenty of exercise, and reduce your stress. Doing so can affect your child’s health now and after they’re born.
When you put forth the effort to live a healthy life – especially after you’ve received a gestational diabetes diagnosis – you give your child a better chance of a healthy life. And you protect your own health in the long run as well.