Introduction to Gestational Diabetes | Rising cashmere

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.

During pregnancy, you can help control gestational diabetes by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking medication if necessary. Controlling blood sugar can keep you and your baby healthy and prevent a difficult birth. If you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, your blood sugar generally returns to normal levels shortly after delivery. However, if you had gestational diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You will need to be tested more frequently for changes in blood sugar.


Most of the time, gestational diabetes causes no noticeable signs or symptoms. Increased thirst and frequent urination are possible symptoms.

If possible, see a doctor early — when you are first thinking about getting pregnant — so your doctor can assess your risk of gestational diabetes, along with your overall well-being. Once you are pregnant, your doctor will examine you for gestational diabetes as part of your prenatal care.

If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need to be checked more often. It is most likely to occur during the last three months of pregnancy, when your doctor is monitoring your blood sugar levels and your baby’s health.


Researchers don’t yet know why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t. Obesity before pregnancy often plays a role.

Normally, various hormones work to keep blood sugar levels under control. But during pregnancy, hormone levels change, making it harder for the body to process blood sugar efficiently. This increases blood sugar.

risk factors

Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

a.Overweight or obese.

b. Not being physically active.

c. have pre-diabetes.

i.e. have had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.

e. With polycystic ovary syndrome.

f. Have an immediate family member with diabetes.

G. Having previously given birth to a baby weighing more than 4.1 kg (9 pounds).

H. Belonging to a specific race or ethnicity, such as B. Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian American.


Gestational diabetes that is not carefully managed can lead to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can cause problems for you and your baby, including an increased chance of needing surgery (caesarean section) to deliver the baby.

Complications that may affect your baby: If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

a. Excessive Birth Weight: If your blood sugar levels are above the standard range, it can cause your baby to grow too large. Very large babies — those who weigh 9 pounds or more — are more likely to become trapped in the birth canal, have birth injuries, or require a cesarean birth.

b. Preterm labor (premature birth): High blood sugar can increase the risk of preterm labor and delivery before the due date. Or early delivery may be recommended as the baby is large.

c. Serious breathing difficulties: Babies born prematurely can develop respiratory distress syndrome — a condition that makes it difficult to breathe.

i.e. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia): Sometimes babies have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) soon after birth. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia can cause the baby to have seizures. Immediate meals and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can bring the baby’s blood sugar levels back to normal.

e.Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life: Babies are at higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

f. Stillbirth: Untreated gestational diabetes can result in the death of a baby either before or shortly after birth.

Complications that may affect the mother: Gestational diabetes can also increase your risk for:

a.High blood pressure and preeclampsia: Gestational diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure as well as preeclampsia – a serious pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and other symptoms that can threaten both your life and the life of your baby.

b.A surgical delivery (cesarean section): You are more likely to have a cesarean section if you have gestational diabetes.

c. Future Diabetes: If you have gestational diabetes, you are more likely to get it again during a future pregnancy. They also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes as they age.


There are no guarantees of preventing gestational diabetes – but the healthier habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better off developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

a. Eat a healthy diet: Choose foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Go for variety to meet your goals without compromising on taste or nutrition. Note portion sizes.

b. Physical Activity: Exercise before and during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Take a brisk walk every day. Ride a bike. Swim laps. Short bursts of activity — like parking further away from the store when running errands or taking a quick break for a walk — it all adds up.

c. Start pregnancy at a healthy weight: If you’re planning to conceive, losing extra weight beforehand can help you have a healthier pregnancy. Focus on making permanent changes in your eating habits that can help you through pregnancy, such as vegetables and fruits.

i.e. Do not gain more weight than recommended: Some weight gain during pregnancy is typical and healthy (normal weight gain during pregnancy is 10-12 kg). However, gaining weight too quickly can increase your risk of gestational diabetes. Ask your health care provider what a reasonable weight gain is for you.


If you’re at average risk for gestational diabetes, you’ll likely have a screening test during your second trimester — between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy.

If you are at high risk of diabetes – for example if you were overweight or obese before pregnancy; you have a mother, father, sibling or child with diabetes, or you had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy – consult your doctor can be tested for diabetes early in pregnancy, probably at your first prenatal visit.


Treatment for gestational diabetes includes:

Lifestyle Changes

Your lifestyle – how you eat and exercise – is an important part of keeping your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Healthcare providers don’t usually advise losing weight during pregnancy — your body is working hard to support your growing baby. Healthcare providers can help you set weight gain goals based on your pre-pregnancy weight. Lifestyle changes include:

Healthy eating: A healthy diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein — foods high in nutrients and fiber and low in fat and calories — and severely limits refined carbohydrates, including sweets. A Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Advisor and Education Specialist can help you create a meal plan based on your current weight, pregnancy weight gain goals, blood sugar levels, exercise habits, eating habits, and budget.

Staying Active: Regular physical activity plays a key role in any wellness plan before, during and after pregnancy. Exercise lowers your blood sugar. As an added bonus, regular exercise can help relieve some common pregnancy complaints, including back pain, muscle spasms, swelling, constipation, and trouble sleeping.

With your doctor’s approval, aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and gradually increase. Walking, cycling and swimming are all good choices during pregnancy. This also includes everyday activities such as housework and gardening.

While you’re pregnant, your healthcare team may ask you to check your blood sugar four or more times a day — first thing in the morning and after meals — to make sure your blood sugar is staying within a healthy range.


If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control your blood sugar levels, you may need insulin injections to lower your blood sugar. A small number of women with gestational diabetes need insulin to reach their blood sugar goals.

Some healthcare providers will prescribe an oral medication to control blood sugar levels. Other healthcare providers believe more research is needed to confirm that oral medications are as safe and effective as injectable insulin for treating gestational diabetes.

Close monitoring of your baby

An important part of your treatment plan is to closely monitor your baby. Your doctor can check your baby’s growth and development with repeated ultrasound scans or other tests that healthcare providers can use to induce labor. Delivering after your due date can increase the risk of complications for you and your baby.

tracking after delivery

Your doctor will check your blood sugar levels after the birth and again in 6 to 12 weeks to make sure your blood sugar levels have returned to the normal range. If your tests are back in that range — and most are — you need to have your diabetes risk assessed at least every three years.

If future tests suggest type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, talk to your doctor about increasing your prevention efforts or starting a diabetes management plan.

coping and support

It is distressing to know that you have an illness that could affect the health of your unborn child. But taking steps to help control your blood sugar — like eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise — can help reduce stress, feed your baby, and help prevent type 2 diabetes in the future.

You might feel better if you learn as much as you can about gestational diabetes. Talk to your healthcare team or read books and articles about gestational diabetes. You may find a support group for people with gestational diabetes helpful. Ask your healthcare team for suggestions.

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