Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes-What You Need to Know and Why

Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes-What You Need to Know and Why

Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary or short-term type of diabetes in which your body is unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin to regulate sugar during pregnancy. All expectant mothers are checked to see if they have gestational diabetes in the course of their pregnancy. It is also be called carbohydrate intolerance or glucose intolerance. Why is this important?

Pregnant Woman
Pregnant Woman

Gestational diabetes usually disappears once the child is born. During pregnancy, the placenta releases hormones that reduce the effectiveness of the mother’s insulin, which permits her to develop diabetes. These hormones are produced within the 24th to 28 weeks of your pregnancy. However, once the baby is born, the fetus and placenta will no longer be in your body. It rids the body of the anti-insulin hormones and diabetes disappears as well.

It is not uncommon for women to enter the process of trying to get pregnant before knowing all there. Some women sometimes think that the process of having a baby is a simple one, but that is not always the case. This is because there are various changes that pregnancy brings in the life of a woman which, when not properly managed, could have overwhelming effects on both the woman and her pregnancy. Knowing about some of the changes during pregnancy is important since it helps expectant mothers prepare themselves both physically and mentally.

Gestational diabetes is first diagnosed during pregnancy.  It is tremendously important for expectant mothers to keep their blood sugar levels under control because if you have gestational diabetes, your baby will be born with several defects and you are also at risk for developing type 2 diabetes after delivery. The worst case scenario with gestational diabetes is that you develop type 2 diabetes and it will remain with you after you have given birth. However, type 2 diabetes is now a condition you must live with. Slowly and inevitably it grows and gets worse over time, hence need to take control of the disease.

Fat Baby
Fat Baby

More so, if you have gestational diabetes while pregnant, complications may affect your baby. Your baby may be at increased risk of being born with excess weight, excessive glucose in the bloodstream that can cross the placenta, which will result in the pancreas of the baby producing extra insulin.

Tests are conducted when it is identified, since the placenta is actually producing massive volumes of hormones that may lead to insulin resistance. If the test result indicates increased volumes of blood glucose, it is necessary that more medical tests are likely to be conducted so they can verify the source of diabetes.

When there are high blood sugar levels early in your pregnancy that are before 13 weeks, it can cause birth defects. High blood sugar can also increase the risks of complications due to diabetes and miscarriage. The irony of it is that a good deal of women are not aware that they are even pregnant until their baby has been growing for 2 to 4 weeks.

What happens to the baby when you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, is that your baby will be affected because the extra sugar in your blood feeds your baby more. You may have a more difficult delivery or need a cesarean section if your baby is very large. Gestational diabetes can also cause some problems for your baby at birth, such as jaundice also known as yellowish skin color.

Gestational diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure, as well as preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and other signs that can threaten the lives of both mother and baby.  Some expectant mothers might not even show any signs of gestational diabetes. There are others that show signs of increased thirst, more frequent urination, and higher signs of tiredness.

Symptoms

Just about all women with have gestational diabetes that result in no symptoms, although a few women may experience:

  1. Exceptional thirst.
  2. Recurrent urination in great amounts distinguished from also recurrent and commonly light urination of early pregnancy.
  3. Fatigue which is similar to, but hard to distinguish from normal pregnancy fatigue

One best way to lower your risk for gestational diabetes is to stay healthy and prepare your body for pregnancy. If you are overweight, you can take the following steps to prepare for pregnancy. You can work to improve your diet and eat healthy foods, as well as establish a regular exercise routine.

Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors

Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Although there is no particular thing that can be said to cause gestational diabetes, there are factors that can be said to increase the risk of a pregnant woman having this type of diabetes. One of the most common factors that is related to gestational diabetes is excessive weight gain. Women who are obese or overweight are at a larger risk of having this form of diabetes than those with normal weight.

Hereditary or family history has a significant role to play when it comes to gestational diabetes just like other types of diabetes. Expectant mothers with a family history of type 2 diabetes have a higher chance of getting gestational diabetes than those without. Women who get pregnant when they are above forty years of age also have a risk of having this form of diabetes.

The diet that should be followed when you are pregnant is important so that it can provide your body with the required nutrients it needs. If you have had a nutritious diet before your pregnancy, then it will be easier for you to meet the recommended needs without any supplements.  However, iron and folate need to be considered during pregnancy.

Eating Healthy

It is essential that you eat nutritious healthy foods as they will help your long-term health and well-being. The following guidelines would be useful:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Include bread, cereals, pasta, and rice, especially choose the low Glycemic Index (GI) food groups
  • Eat only moderate amounts of meat, fish, poultry, and alternatives like legumes, seeds, and nuts
  • Choose the low-fat varieties when eating dairy foods.
  • The amount of saturated fat in your diet should be reduced.
  • Salt intake should be reduced also
  • Reduce refined sugars and high starch foods

Gestation diabetes is managed through diet, exercise and in some cases insulin.

Normalize Blood Sugar Levels Before Conception:

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

The right time for expectant mothers to get their vitamin D levels up to normal is before they ever conceive. In women who have the polycystic ovarian syndrome, vitamin D can be part of the treatment, along with gentle weight loss of as little as 2 to 5 pounds. This normalizes the blood sugar levels and raises the ratio of estrogen to testosterone that enables ovulation and conception.

Important Facts on Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy

Gestation diabetes is a form of diabetes, although it can increase the risks of contracting type 2 diabetes, it is usually temporary and most women usually show signs of recovery after delivery. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is very high in the first 7 years after delivery. This makes it imperative that you remember to continue eating a balanced diet. A healthy lifestyle will be helpful in reducing the chances of having diabetes after getting pregnant. When trying to get pregnant, it is also important to live a healthy lifestyle.

It is also significant to get control of gestational diabetes early in order to prevent exposing the baby to an excess of glucose, that later stores as fat. Too much glucose in the womb not only leads to a tremendously fat baby, but may lead to other hitches such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

To get liberated from gestational diabetes, it can possibly mean that your doctor has you taking medications for diabetes while you are pregnant so as to keep your blood sugar levels controlled. There is the possibility when having gestational diabetes, that you are still able to have a pregnancy that is normal and healthy. It is still vital to take special care of yourself in order to lessen the risk of Preeclampsia which means pregnancy-related high blood pressure.

As a pregnant woman, it is essential that you should be tested for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The treatment of gestational diabetes if tested positive, should start immediately to prevent adverse effects on the mother and the baby. The treatment includes special meal plans and scheduled physical activity as well as daily blood sugar testing to keep it under control.

Type 1 diabetes is a very common childhood disease that frequently is diagnosed before they are 16 years old. There are slightly different ways to manage type 1 diabetes and it depends on the age of the person. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that you maintain and keep optimal blood glucose levels while children and teenagers are growing and developing. If they don’t meet their full growth potential under good management of diabetes, sadly you cannot go back and try again.

However, maybe one of the safest and most effective medications for gestational blood sugar problems, is Metformin which can be as useful as insulin.

Fresh Vegetables
Fresh Vegetables

There are few healthy choices for snacks and meals to take if you have gestational diabetes. They are:

  • Fresh vegetables, especially ones that are steamed.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Skinless chicken breasts.
  • Baked fish.
  • Steel-cut oatmeal topped with berries.
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt.
  • Egg whites or eggs.
  • Air-popped popcorn.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you’ve learned something about pregnancy and gestational diabetes. Being pregnant should be the happiest time of your life and diabetes shouldn’t get in the way. But at least now you have a heads up on what to look for and what to do. So eat healthy, stay healthy, and see your doctor frequently and good luck on the birth of your baby!

Control Your Blood Sugar and Your Weight Below!

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12 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes-What You Need to Know and Why

  1. WOW! I had no idea that pregnancy could cause such an illness, that must be tough on both the mother and baby! Things like this are another reason I don’t plan on being a mother, but I have much respect for those that do already and reading this makes me respect them even more because they’re willing to make that sacrifice to bring a life into the world. My question, however, is whether or not something who has this condition when pregnant would mean the baby would be born with diabetes, since they didn’t have an adequate supply of glucose? 

    1. Hi there,

      You can develop gestational diabetes while pregnant. It doesn’t mean that you will for sure.

      It’s not an easy situation to deal with. The thing is that once a woman gives birth the diabetes goes away for the baby, but the woman herself has a 50% chance of developing diabetes herself.

      This is not to scare, but just to inform. There can always be that possibility.

      Bringing a life into the world is a wonderful thing and the majority of births are healthy with no issues.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I’ve learned a lot about gestational diabetes and honestly it’s so crazy how that works. Getting diabetes while pregnant seems like a curse and it’s a whole new thing you have to worry about. Lots of mothers have no idea that they even have it and that’s scary to think about. Hopefully mothers do their research and learn all they can about this 

    1. Hi Ty,

      It is crazy how gestational diabetes works. While the baby develops diabetes it goes away after birth but increases the mother’s risk herself of getting diabetes by 50%.

      The best thing a woman can do is eat healthy and exercise and follow doctor’s orders in hopes that she doesn’t get type 2 diabetes.

      I think that as woman who’s pregnant, she would do a lot of research before and during pregnancy and that’s about the best you can do.

      Appreciate your comments Ty! Thanks!

  3. I never knew that Gestational diabetes is a temporary or short-term type of diabetes. I’m a man,but this is good to know for when I do decide to have children. I know it’s definitely not healthy at all to be overweight in general, even more so when you’re pregnant. You say, tests for Gestational diabetes, but where are they likely to give those tests? At the hospital?

    1. Hey Nate,

      Yes gestational diabetes is short term and temporary. It is good for a man to know this as well as his partner.

      Being overweight is never a good thing. With pregnancy it can make matters worse.

      As far as where to go and what to do as far as the gestational diabetes testing, this will give you all the details that are involved: Click HERE

      I hope this clears everything up for you! Thank you for your interest!

  4. My wife is pregnant with twins and gestational diabetes is pretty common. During her 12 weeks pregnancy, blood sugar level was about 170. It was little more than the normal and I was worried a bit. But since then she is having good amount of vegetables and fruits and her blood sugar level is between 90-130. I think proper diet and healthy mind is very much essential for controlling sugar level.

    1. Hey Sanjay 🙂

      Congratulations! Yes the blood sugar of 170 is high. But after eating a lot of fruits and vegetables it changed which goes to show you that healthy eating works.

      That’s amazing how much lower her sugar levels were. You want to avoid gestational diabetes at all costs.

      We are what we eat and the better we eat the healthier we become. Following a proper diet is always the best idea!

      Thank you for your thoughts 🙂

  5. Hi there, Rob!

    A very informative and helpful article which has been conveyed to my spouse especially the symptoms and risks as well as the eating healthy habit which are so crucial for a pregnant wife.

    Learning all of these can also help a pregnant woman minimize seeing her doctor for consultations and check-ups which means a couple can really save a lot of time and money which can be used instead for that very precious someone inside who’ll soon be coming out and enjoy the beauty of life.

    Thanks really for the heads-up!

    Keep being healthy!

    -julius

    1. Hi Julius,

      You obviously want your wife and unborn child to be healthy. Eating healthy for two is the best course of action.

      It’s important for a woman to do the best she can during her pregnancy and also to minimize her visits to the doctor if possible.

      It’s such a joyous occasion that you want to avoid gestational diabetes any way you can.

      Good luck to you and stay healthy! Thanks for sharing 🙂 

  6. I had absolutely no idea of how devastating the effects of gestational diabetes can be. I thought that it only affects the mother and can’t affect the child. I had definitely been more anxious about my wife’s doctor’s appointment at the time, if I’d knew that. Glad she was all good in this regard though. 🙂

    The article I found remarkably educational. Totally loved all the insights you provided. My favorite one was about the vitamin D. I had no idea that it has correlation with blood sugar levels as well as with the estrogen to testosterone ratio, which essentially enables conception.

    Again, thanks!!!

    Cheers and have a Great One!

    Matiss

    1. Hey Matiss, 

      It’s always a good idea to have everything checked out during pregnancy. It’s best for both mother and child.

      Diabetes is just too common these days and it’s important to keep everything checked to be on the safe side.

      Thank you so much for saying. I always want to try and be as helpful and educational as possible to everyone reading my articles!

      Thank you too for your insights!

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